The New York Knicks might’ve set themselves up for failure.
In an unfortunate but not-so-surprising turn of events, the New York Knicks and Immanuel Quickley failed to reach an agreement on a contract extension before Monday night’s deadline. Quickley will now play out the last year of his rookie contract and become a restricted free agent in 2024.
After Immanuel Quickley had a sensational Sixth Man of the Year campaign for the 47-win Knicks, it seemed like a no-brainer that the Knicks would commit long-term to the third-year guard out of Kentucky.
Quickley averaged about 15 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per game on 45% shooting from the field. Those numbers shot up to nearly 23 points, five rebounds, and five assists per game in the 21 games he started in 2022-23. His most notable performance came in a double-overtime victory against the Celtics where he went off for 38 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists.
The New York Knicks will regret not extending Immanuel Quickley
The Knicks have an incredibly long history of not extending their first-round picks. Like 23 years long. They broke this streak when they resigned RJ Barrett to a four-year deal worth $120 million in 2022. This current Knick regime has already handed out extensions to Julius Randle and most recently Josh Hart. It just made sense they’d do the same with Quickley.
I think it’s easy to look at this and just chalk it up to organizational incompetence from the Knicks, but it’s not 2010 anymore. It isn’t quite that simple. The problem is that Quickley has outplayed his role on the Knicks and he knows it. It explains why they could never find common ground money-wise.
Devin Vassell’s five-year, $135 million extension and Jaden McDaniels’ five-year $136 million extension set the market for a player of Quickley’s caliber. For the Knicks, that monetary figure exceeds what they were willing to pay for a sixth man.
Even if Quickley continues to improve as a player, it is unlikely he ever surpass Jalen Brunson who now looks ridiculously underpaid. It is still unclear how the rest of the league values Quickley, and we won’t know for sure until he hits the market next summer.
The Knicks, in my opinion, failed to consider the risk they’re taking letting this play out. For starters, if Quickley balls out this season his price will increase dramatically to the point that the Knicks will be unable or unwilling to match any potential offer sheet he signs next offseason.
Even if the Knicks don’t view Quickley as a piece for the future, signing him to a lofty extension makes it easier for them to match the salary of the not-so-mystery superstar they plan to pursue next offseason. Of course, it’s entirely possible Quickley disappoints this season like he did in the playoffs. The Knicks could then get him back on a deal that resembles Cole Anthony’s extension (three years, $39 million) with the Magic, or let him walk.
Either way, they are allowing this to become an ongoing storyline throughout what should be a good season for New York. The prospect of losing a young star for nothing is something every franchise should try and avoid. The Knicks may have set themselves up for it.