Knicks F Kristaps Porzingis may be the face of the franchise, but he won't be getting paid like one anytime soon.
During a press conference on Thursday, Knicks president Steve Mills and GM Scott Perry made it known that Porzingis won't be given the max $158 million extension he can be awarded.
They say Porzingis is on board with this mindset, as the Knicks want to make a run at prized free-agent options next offseason, and this extension would take up cap room.
"Our philosophy is that we're going to stay connected with [the Porzingis camp]," Perry told The Post's Marc Berman. "It's a long-term thing. Obviously you mentioned the point of the cap space in July. But we just feel like we're in a real good space with him, as well as he is with us. And we're going to do the right thing by him and this organization."
That right thing is to negotiate a contract in 2019 when he becomes a restricted free agent, and the Knicks want that to happen. Mills said Porzingis is still the cornerstone of the franchise, and that has been reiterated to his camp.
"He'll never feel like he's not a cornerstone part of what we're trying to do here," Mills said. "He understands that. We make that crystal clear to him and his representation."
Though they won't say it publicly, there could be some caution due to Porzingis' torn ACL he is still rehabbing. There is still not timetable for his return to the court, but Mills said his rehab has been going well.
"We feel good about how the rehab process is going," Mills said. "There are obviously different steps we have to go through in the process to see where he is. We feel good about the direction he is going and how he's coming along."
Christmas seems to be the earliest he could return, but the Knicks would rather be 100 percent certain that he is healthy given their rebuilding process still in the works.