The Knicks weren't able to land any high-profile free agents this past summer, which led to now ex-team president Steve Mills and GM Scott Perry signing a group of veterans to short, expendable deals.
Now, with a new vision in the front office with Leon Rose acting as the team's president, those players -- and even some others -- might be on the chopping block.
In this new series, we'll look at whether or not the Knicks should let these players stay -- or let them walk. We'll kick it off with C Bobby Portis.
CONTRACT: Two years, $30.75 million. Club option for 2020-21 season.
Why should Portis stay?
The 25-year-old came into this past season saying he was adopting that underdog mentality to prove everyone wrong, whether it was doubting his own abilities or the Knicks as a whole. And that's always a great quality for a player to have.
Portis started just five games for the Knicks this season, with Taj Gibson starting 56 of the team's games at center and Mitchell Robinson taking seven opening tip-offs, but coming off the bench, he provided some versatility by having the ability to score on the perimeter as well as in the paint. He shot 36 percent from three-point land, with a 45 percent field goal percentage overall.
Being able to go off on a hot streak was something Portis also showcased in his first year in New York. For example, the game against his former Bulls squad where he dropped 28 points on 10-of-14 shooting with 11 boards was impressive. Another game was against the Heat in Miami, dropping a season-high 30 points on 12-of-17 from the field.
Portis also remained healthy, playing a career-high 66 games for the Knicks -- and it would've been more had the season not been suspended. Portis is still young and can be a solid complement to Robinson if the Knicks can continue to build him into that role player off the bench. He still needs some more work around the rim.
Why should Portis go?
The contract is a big reason. The old Knicks regime spent too much on Portis, and he's set to make slightly more in 2020 at $15.75 million.
There is also the fact that his overall numbers weren't anything special. He averaged 10.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 21.1 minutes per game. At $15 million, that isn't the type of production you like to see.
Portis spending too much time on the perimeter, too, isn't needed. Yes, the Knicks needed more shooters in their backcourt, as point guards were struggling to knock down shots. But, when Robinson is on the bench and Portis is out on the perimeter, the presence down low is diminished.
At the end of the day, the Knicks don't need that type of player behind Robinson, especially at that price tag.
What's the right move?
Honestly, the writing is on the wall for Portis. The price tag on him for next season is just too high, and Rose will more than likely make that cut considering he's not even the team's starting center.
Yes, Portis may work really well as a stretch-four, but the Knicks have Julius Randle already at the position. A rebound- and defense-first center to work alongside Robinson's shot-blocking affinity and improving offensive game -- and at a much lower price -- would be the ideal fit for the Knicks.
Portis is still young, so a team will certainly bring him aboard. But in this rebuilding project at Madison Square Garden, he doesn't have that fit.