The San Antonio Spurs have “significant interest” in New York Knicks center Kristaps Porzingis, according to The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor. Porzingis, an All-Star in 2018, has yet to play this season as he recovers from a torn ACL he suffered last February.
Porzingis averaged 22.7 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in 48 games played last season before tearing his ACL. He shot a career-best 39.5 percent from three-point territory.
A restricted free agent this summer, Porzingis will likely command a max contract of four years—which would equate to $122.1 million. The Knicks can match any contract the Spurs, or any other team, proposes to the 23-year-old.
Clearing cap space for Porzingis will be a challenge for the Spurs. They would have to dispatch some of their higher-paid players—possibly trading either four-time All-Star DeMar DeRozan or six-time All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge—and waiving Pau Gasol‘s partially-guaranteed contract of $16 million for next season. Rudy Gay’s contract ($10 million) also comes off the books this summer.
Because the Knicks can match any offer sheet an opposing team hands Porzingis, the 7-foot-3-inch Latvian big man will likely stay in New York unless a trade takes place.
The Knicks hold the third-worst record in the NBA with a 10-30 mark. There is no reason to bring back Porzingis this season, who is better off sitting out and returning to full health.