Knicks President Steve Mills said on the Michael Kay Show that the team is happy with its decision not to extend Kristaps Porzingis before he is set to become a restricted free agent next summer.
The team will save $10 million next summer by not extending Porzingis, per Ian Begley of ESPN. Mills said the team justified their decision by stressing the importance of building the right team around Porzingis to put him in a better position to succeed down the stretch.
"We believe it was the smart move," Mills explained. "But primarily because over the summer, Scott and I sat down with KP's brother (Janis Porzingis) and talked about the different options that we have in front of us as it related to his extension. We were clear that the best option to make the Knicks a better team long-term and have a better group of guys that KP can grow with long-term was to not do the extension at this point."
Despite the decision, Mills said he believes Porzingis and the team are "in a good place." The 23-year-old has been "very excited" about coach David Fizdale as well as the players on the team -- including the young players, according to Fizdale. "I watch him every day at shootaround, I watch him every day at practice, and watch how he's engaged with his teammates," Fizdale said.
Porzingis played in 48 games last season before suffering a season-ending ACL injury, which is keeping him on the sideline this season. Before his injury, he posted career-high 22.7 points and 2.4 assists per game.