Knicks Mailbag: On Immanuel Quickley’s future

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Immanuel Quickley

Immanuel Quickley / USA TODAY Sports/SNY treated image

SNY’s Ian Begley will be responding to and breaking down answers to Knicks questions from readers. Here’s the latest…

With training camp about three weeks away, here’s an informal mailbag culled from some tweet replies over the past few weeks:

Ian, you mention the complication of trying to move IQ after an extension. Have you heard teams around the league would be interested in giving up assets to trade/extend? – @doinkstarr

Hey Doinkstarr, I haven’t heard anything about specific teams’ interest in Quickley. But I’d bet a mortgage payment on the idea that Quickley would have several strong suitors via trade if New York made him available. The 24-year-old averaged 16.9 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.0 steal and a 3/1 assist to turnover ratio last season after the Knicks tweaked their rotation in early December.

He also played strong team defense for long stretches of the season.

Quickley checks off the boxes that many teams covet: He’s young, experienced and has been effective on both sides of the floor. So I’m sure there would be strong interest in trading for Quickley if the Knicks made him available. The irony is that the Knicks had conversations with teams about trades involving Quickley very early in the 2022-23 season. These took place before Quickley’s ascension. So teams who were unwilling to make a strong offer for Quickley then are probably kicking themselves at this point.

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The focus now is on a Quickley extension.

As noted in this story, Quickley’s side and New York will probably negotiate in earnest on an extension sometime this month.

If I had to guess, Quickley’s side will seek a significant contract, as it should.

How much is New York willing to pay Quickley in an extension? We should have the answer to that question in a few weeks. The deadline to extend is Oct. 23.

Something worth noting: In the middle of the 2022-23 season, some members of the organization felt strongly that the Knicks would end up extending Quickley, per SNY sources. Of course, things can go sideways during contract negotiations. But I assume that the Knicks will do what they need to in order to extend a player who has exceeded all expectations based on his draft position (New York selected him with the 25th pick in 2020 draft).

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Can we afford IQ, Grimes and Hart on a similar salary level? Because I don’t think so… I mean if we want to (sign) someone next season on FA – @sthegTV

Thanks for the question, @SthegTV. The Knicks can exceed the salary cap to sign Quickley and Quentin Grimes. So the club can afford to pay both players roughly the same salary as Josh Hart (roughly $19 million per season).

But as noted earlier, the Knicks will probably have to pay a luxury tax penalty if they extend both Grimes and Quickley. They will almost certainly exceed the tax if they extend Quickley on a deal that starts at $18 million. Their luxury tax penalty would then increase if they extended Grimes. Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle will also be up for new contracts. So the current iteration of this team could be expensive in 2025-26.

Knicks governor James Dolan has never been shy about writing big checks for players, coaches and execs. So it’s logical to assume he wouldn’t have a problem with paying luxury tax to field a highly competitive team.

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To address @Stheg’s question about 2024 free agency: The Knicks don’t project to have cap space next offseason or in the 2025 offseason. So any significant roster upgrade is most likely to come via trade.

Ian, the @nyknicks should sign Rondae Hollis-Jefferson to a roster spot. Thoughts? – @btruetolife

Hey Brutus, thanks for the question. Hollis-Jefferson probably opened up eyes around the league during the FIBA World Cup. He played at a high level for Jordan in the tournament. As a result, he’s probably (rightfully) looking for a chance to earn an NBA rotation spot.

I can’t see the Knicks adding a free agent with the plan of giving that player rotation minutes at this point.

Maybe I’m wrong, but I think Tom Thibodeau sticks with the guys on the current roster for his 2023-24 rotation. I mentioned late last month that some Knick strategists like the idea of Hart playing backup power forward as a screener and play-maker in the short-roll. I don’t know if that opinion is universal, but it certainly has support among some key stakeholders. So I would be surprised if the Knicks added a free agent to play backup power forward at this point.

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