In an unsurprising move, the Knicks have exercised their 2018/19 team option on Kristaps Porzingis. While the team has yet to formally announce the move, RealGM’s transactions log lists it, suggesting that it’s now official.
Porzingis is the first player on a rookie contract to have a team option exercised for the 2018/19 season. Teams around the NBA will have to make these decisions by October 31 on players entering the second or third seasons of their respective rookie contracts. Assuming a player has his option picked up – like Porzingis did – his rookie contract will be extended through at least 2019. If an ’18/19 option is declined, that player would be on track to reach unrestricted free agency next summer.
In Porzingis’ case, that 2018/19 option will count against the cap for $5,697,054, per Basketball Insiders. That year represents the fourth and final season of Porzingis’ rookie deal, so the Knicks will soon be faced with a decision on the young forward/center. He’ll be extension-eligible as of July 2018, and if he’s not extended, he’ll become a restricted free agent in July 2019.
Porzingis, who turned 22 last week, averaged 18.1 PPG, 7.2 RPG, and 2.0 BPG with a .450/.357/.786 shooting line for the Knicks in 66 games last season. Although he was mentioned in some trade rumors in June, that talk has quieted since Phil Jackson‘s exit from the franchise, and the former fourth overall pick appears to have mended fences with the club after skipping his exit meeting. Porzingis is viewed as a core piece for the Knicks to build around going forward.