New York had to make a move by 4pm Central to open a roster spot for center Joakim Noah, whose 20-game PED suspension ended last night. With 15 other players under contract, the organization decided to unload Kuzminskas and the $3,025,035 in guaranteed money he will make this season.
“The respect this franchise has for Mindaugas cannot be overstated,” Knicks GM Scott Perry said in a statement released by the team. “His professionalism and work ethic were greatly appreciated by his teammates, coaches and the entire staff. This decision was extremely tough for us. We wish him nothing but the best moving on with his playing career.”
Kuzminskas appeared to have a promising future in New York after averaging 6.3 points in 68 games as a rookie last season, but lost an important advocate in the front office when Phil Jackson was fired as team president over the summer.
ESPN’s Bobby Marks notes that last year’s standings will be used for waiver claims through the end of November (Twitter link). A team must be able to absorb Kuzminskas’ salary through cap space, a trade exception or a disabled player exception in order to file a claim.