REPORT: Knicks have no plans to buy out veterans
Moreover, the Knicks will not necessarily prioritize minutes for younger players down the stretch. They are five games out of the eighth seed despite a 17-39 record, a 29th-ranked Offensive Rating and a bottom-10 Defensive Rating.
Interim head coach Mike Miller also stressed that while player development is paramount, it doesn’t just come down to court time.
“We’re looking at development in a lot of different ways and not saying it’s just about, you just need 25 minutes a game to develop. I think there’s more to it, there’s more ways that we can help these guys grow then doing that,” Miller said.
Kevin Knox, Frank Ntilikina, Dennis Smith Jr. have all struggled this season, while Miller continues to trot out lineups that block reps for Mitchell Robinson in favor of Bobby Portis and Taj Gibson.
If (and when) the Knicks fall out of playoff contention, they still won’t be buying anyone out, as they view the veterans as movable assets this summer. Moe Harkless and Portis have said they expect to remain in New York through season’s end.
Portis ($15 million), Gibson ($10 million) and Wayne Ellington ($8 million) have team options, Harkless’ $11.5 million is expiring, and Elfrid Payton and Reggie Bullock’s deals for next season aren’t fully guaranteed. None of those guys have more than $1 million in guaranteed money on their contracts, so the Knicks can easily move on if no trades arise.
Buyouts or not, Knicks fans would prefer to see the vets move aside for young players who may actually be on the team going forward.