O’Quinn’s individually successful season with his hometown team Knicks could be fruitful financially for the power forward/center, and New York must decide whether to offer Kyle a raise.
New York Knicks center Kyle O’Quinn has declined his $4.2M option for the 2018–19 season and is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
O’Quinn, a New York native, has spent the previous three seasons playing for the Knicks after signing a four-year, $16 million contract in 2015. Over the course of the three seasons, he averaged 6.1 points per game, 5.2 rebounds, and 1.6 assists (via Basketball-Reference).
Although it’s not clear whether team president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry intend to offer him another contract, O’Quinn became a fan favorite by continually and consistently bringing energy off the bench. When the Knicks needed him most, it felt as if he would do his job by playing with tenacity and an alpha-dog mentality. However, despite this, he often would make silly mistakes, such as poorly timed fouls and errant passes.
O’Quinn hardly ever broke the starting rotation, only accumulating 19 starts in a total of 221 games played. This may also, however, be a reflection as to how badly the Knicks’ front office has been during his time. Having played for three different head coaches in three seasons—Derek Fisher, interim head coach Kurt Rambis, and Jeff Hornacek—it was much harder to solidify his role on the team.
The question remains: What is Kyle O’Quinn worth to this Knicks team? You know, the team that’s in an endless cycle of retooling and rebuilding? Suddenly the roster feels depleted at the power forward and center position with Kristaps Porzingis likely out for at least half of the 2018–19 season. O’Quinn’s worth is essentially tethered to Enes Kanter’s decision, who also has yet to make a decision on his player option (the deadline for it is June 29.)
Here is the Knicks current salary cap situation given Kyle O’Quinn’s opt-out.
I project their 2019 number by assuming Ron Baker and Emmanuel Mudiay would come off the books so you can see they are a Courtney Lee trade or Joakim Noah stretch away from getting towards max space pic.twitter.com/RoAwRNyqjw
— Knicks Film School (@KnickFilmSchool) June 21, 2018
That said, if we don’t get Kyle O’Quinn back next season, he will be missed by many fans and players alike. He’s a positive role model and presence in the locker room, as well as to the community. If he’s not back, we only wish him the best.