As the FIBA World Cup wraps up in the Philippines, with disappointment for Team USA and its two Knicks representatives, it’s expected that NBA business will soon begin to pick back up. Training camps are slated to start in three weeks, so some of the outstanding decisions to be made—trades involving Damian Lillard and James Harden are chief among them—will be facing some time pressure.
One of the big decisions for the Knicks this offseason will also be on the clock: An extension for guard Immanuel Quickley, who is entering the fourth and potentially final year of his rookie contract. If the Knicks don’t sign Quickley before the tip off of the NBA season, Quickley will be a restricted free agent next summer.
According to an NBA source, there has been some base-touching between the sides on a Quickley extension, but no serious talks as of yet. There’s some pessimism about whether a deal can get done, but talks are not expected to heat up until October. “No substantive stuff. There is basically a month or so, but in these things, that is plenty of time,” the source told Heavy Sports.
Knicks Have Crowded Backcourt
Still, an extension for Quickley could be complicated for the Knicks. He put up an impressive season last year, tallying 14.9 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.4 assists and finishing second for the league’s Sixth Man of the Year award. Quickley was especially good after the All-Star break, when he averaged 21.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.2 assists, making 40.1% of his 3-point tries.
But Quickley plays in a backcourt that already was crowded last season with the addition of point guard Jalen Brunson and wing Josh Hart. The team also has guard/forward R.J. Barrett on hand, plus young contributors Miles McBride and Quentin Grimes.
Oh, and Donte DiVincenzo was signed in the offseason, adding yet another guard to the Knicks mix.
These are not cheap players. Spotrac tallied the Knicks’ guard investment at $105 million for next season, and that’s with Quickley still on a bargain rookie deal that will pay him $4.2 million for next season.
The Knicks will benefit from shedding Evan Fournier’s $18 million contract after this season, but they’ll have to replace that with whatever they pay Quickley.
Quickley Said to Want ‘Nine Figures’
That’s if they pay Quickley.
One NBA executive said the expected asking price for Quickley will put him in the range of what Brunson got from the Knicks—four years and $104 million. That might be a little too rich for New York, but Quickley can be expected to get something, at least, in the range of $80 million for four years.
“He is going to want nine figures,” the executive told Heavy Sports. “And that’s for four years. I can’t say the Knicks will go that high but they might have to. He is not a guy you want to send to restricted free agency.”
But the Knicks could take a harder line with Quickley in restricted free agency, a path more teams have been willing to take in recent years. By not giving him an extension, the Knicks have the advantage of forcing Quickley to get an offer elsewhere, one that the Knicks could then match. Not signing him now also makes Quickley easier to trade during the season, if they decide to make a major move.
The Knicks have time to work al this out with Quickley. But the clock is starting soon.