Knicks’ guard Immanuel Quickley wants 9 figure extension: Report

Immanuel Quickley Knicks
New York Knicks guard Immanuel Quickley (5) reacts after drawing a foul during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Boston Celtics, Monday, Feb. 27, 2023, in New York.
AP Photo/John Minchillo

The New York Knicks’ already interesting upcoming offseason just got more intriguing after a report came out, courtesy of Heavy.com’s NBA Insider Sean Deveney that guard Immanuel Quickley is looking for “nine figures” on his contract extension. 

“He is going to want nine figures,” one league executive told Heavy Sports. “And that’s for four years. I can’t say the Knicks will go that high but they might have to. He is not a guy you want to send to restricted free agency.”

Nine figures over four years means that Quickley is looking for a deal that will pay him at least $25 million per year, which is the exact deal that Anfernee Simons signed with the Trail Blazers

On that level, it makes sense that Quickley would be looking for that level of contract, especially coming off of a breakout year that saw him average 14.9 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per game. He also got better as the year went on, averaging 21.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 4.2 assists on 40.1% shooting from beyond the 3-point line after the All-Star break.

The guard now enters the final year of his contract and will make just $2.6 million next year. This offseason marks the first time the Knicks and Quickley can negotiate a fourth-year contract extension. Without one, he would become a restricted free agent in the summer of 2024 where the Knicks would have a chance to match any offer he signs; however, they should expect the market for Quickley to be fierce and full of big offers. 

Immanuel Quickley Knicks
New York Knicks guard Immanuel Quickley (5) drives to the basket past Houston Rockets guard Jalen Green during the second half of an NBA basketball game Monday, March 27, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

The issues for the Knicks in making an offer like this to Quickley are plentiful. 

For starters, Jalen Brunson is on a descending contract, so Quickley’s $25 million a year salary would actually be more than Brunson will make in 2024-25 and 2025-26. Since Brunson emerged as the leader of the Knicks last season, it would be a hard sell to pay him less than his current backup is making. 

Another issue is that the Knicks have plenty of money already tied up in their backcourt. RJ Barrett’s new contract kicks in next year and he will make $104 million over four years. Brunson still has $77 million left over three years, and the team seems very likely to re-sign Josh Hart (even if he picks up his player option), which has been rumored to be a deal of around three years and $60-70 million.

They also have reportedly picked up the $1.8 million team option for Miles McBride, still owe Evan Fournier over $18 million, although he is likely to be traded, and will have to negotiate an extension next summer for starting shooting guard Quentin Grimes. 

That’s a lot of money to put into just your backcourt, especially when you factor in that the Knicks are also paying over $28 million a year to Julius Randle and over $15 million a year for Mitchell Robinson. 

They cannot fit all of those contracts onto one team, so something needs to be done. 

One solution offered by the executive who spoke to Heavy.com is to simply get the deal done with Quickley now, knowing that it will take another year for the extension to kick in, which means the Knicks would have a year to figure out what to do while Quickley plays next season for just $2.6 million. 

“Pay him now, while you can still negotiate and play a little hardball,” the executive said. “Then come back and see if there is a trade to be made with one of your other guards. That’s really their only choice.”

Of course, they might not actually have to pay him $25 million a year. While that’s allegedly what Quickley wants, that might not be what his market is. 

The Athletic’s Fred Katz reported thatThe Athletic recently conducted a poll of 15 people who work in front offices across the NBA, asking what each person would deem a “fair” extension for Quickley…Eleven of the participants deemed Quickley worth between $16 million and $20 million a year. Ten of the 15 placed Toppin within shouting distance of the midlevel exception: between $10 million and $15 million a year.”

If that’s the case, then Quickley and the Knicks might be able to come to an agreement on a deal that’s friendlier to the Knicks’ gap

Of course, their other choice is to trade Quickley this summer. 

Given the aforementioned financials, it always felt unlikely that the Knicks would be able to re-sign both Quickley and Grimes to long-term deals. Perhaps Quickley’s contract demands make it easier for the team to choose to extend Grimes, a move that would be attractive since they wouldn’t even need to begin those discussions until next summer, which means the financials wouldn’t kick in until 2024-25, when Randle is in the last year of his contract and could be traded more easily. 

In that same article Katz that the Knicks have already been approached by another team “about flipping Quickley for a very good player in his prime.”

Katz admitted that “Talks didn’t go far, and it did not seem equivalent to what was going on this past autumn when the Knicks had legitimate discussions with various teams about dealing Quickley for a first-round pick or something like it.” However, it’s clear that New York is willing to listen to overtures if a team really wants to acquire Quickley. 

With the Knicks allegedly looking to acquire a star this offseason, Quickley could be moved in a deal to bring in a player like OG Anunoby or Zach LaVine. Of course, those players also command large salaries, so the Knicks would likely need to pair Quickley and RJ Barrett, which would clear the cap space to bring in new talent. 

Yet, doing so would also likely mean that the Knicks need to part with fewer draft picks since the Quickley/Barrett pairing would be an attractive trade chip. The Knicks would then also have minutes in the rotation for their free agent of choice Donte DiVincenzo, who would command a much more affordable contract. 

Theoretically, New York could then roll out a lineup of Brunson, Grimes, Anunoby, Randle, and Robinson while bringing some combination of McBride, DiVincenzo, Hart, Toppin, and Hartenstein off of the bench. All while keeping most of their first-round draft picks, which could be used for further trades. 

Obviously, there are still many dominos left to fall, and we might not see any resolution to this for a few months, but these alleged contract demands just made the Knicks’ offseason that much more interesting. 

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Immanuel Quickley Knicks
New York Knicks guard Immanuel Quickley, left, looks to shoot over Houston Rockets guard Kevin Porter Jr. (3) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Monday, March 27, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)