In a day of decision making for the New York Knicks that’s been a long time coming, the team is letting go of several players they had options on, as first reported by Newsday’s Steve Popper.
The Knicks are declining their $15.7 million option on forward Bobby Portis and guard Theo Pinson, waiving point guard Elfrid Payton, who only had $1 million of his $8 million contract for next season guaranteed, waiving forward Taj Gibson, who had $1 million of his $10.2 million guaranteed, waiving forward Kenny Wooten and not extending a qualifying offer to guard Damyean Dotson. Guard Wayne Ellington also had just $1 million of his $8 million guaranteed for next season and is also being waived. The only player New York will pick up an option on is guard Reggie Bullock’s $4.2 million deal.
There may be potential interest in bringing some of these players back, but not at such elevated cost. Now team president Leon Rose and the Knicks reportedly have $40 million in cap space, per ESPN’s Bobby Marks, the second highest total in the NBA.
The Knicks may try to pursue free agent point guard Fred VanVleet with that money, but will face stiff competition from the incumbent Toronto Raptors. Rose and company will look to improve off Wednesday’s draft when the team selected Dayton forward Obi Toppin 8th overall and Kentucky guard Immanuel Quickley 25th.
New York finished 21-45 last season under David Fizdale and Mike Miller last season, replacing team president Steve Mills with Rose in March and hiring Tom Thibodeau over the summer.
Portis, 25, averaged 10 points and five rebounds per game on 45% shooting and 35.8% from three, with 61 of his 66 games off the bench. The 35-year-old Gibson started 56 of his 62 games and averaged six points and 4.3 rebounds per game on 58.4% shooting. Payton, 26, started 36 of the 43 games he played and averaged 10 points, 7.2 assists and 4.7 rebounds per game on 43.9% shooting and 20.3% shooting from three. The 32-year-old Ellington shot 35.1% from the field and 35% from three in 36 games, scoring 5.1 points per contest. Dotson, 26, averaged 6.1 points per game on 41.4% from the field and 36.2% from three in 48 games.
Bullock, who they’re reportedly keeping, started 19 of the 29 games he played in averaged 8.1 points and 2.3 rebounds per game on 40.2% shooting and 33.3% from three. He’s 28 years old.
The Knicks also signed standout Seton Hall guard Myles Powell to a contract, as first reported by Forbes’ Adam Zagoria. Powell, 23, averaged 21 points per game for the Pirates, was named Big East Player of the Year last season and first team All America. He’s represented by CAA.