Knicks Mailbag: A possible OG Anunoby extension, Donovan Mitchell, and other offseason musings

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

Ian, what is your sense of what the Knicks will do this offseason, do they believe that if this current team is healthy going into next season, they're title contenders or will they look for that star to pair alongside Brunson to compete for a championship? - @AndrewA59778512

I think anyone with the Knicks would say publicly that the current team can compete for a title. But if you caught them in an honest moment, they would probably acknowledge that they need more talent to reach the next level. It’s not solely about health. As has been the case since Leon Rose took over, the Knicks will be appropriately aggressive if the right player becomes available via trade.

They have enough draft capital to make an aggressive offer for a top player. If there is a player who they believe fits their team, they will make a strong push for that player. You saw it in the 2022 offseason with Donovan Mitchell. I don’t think their stance on pursuing a star is any different today than it was then. If I had to guess about this offseason, I’d say that the Knicks re-sign Isaiah Hartenstein and OG Anunoby and dangle at least one of their 2024 first-round draft picks in trade packages for a star player as the draft approaches.

I’d expect roster changes in Atlanta, New Orleans and Cleveland in the offseason. Will Minnesota’s ownership decide to pay a significant luxury tax to bring that group back? Or will they be active in the trade market? Do the Clippers offer Paul George what he’s looking for in an extension or does another team -- the Sixers? -- offer George the years and money that he hasn’t gotten yet from the Clippers? We’ll get the answers to these questions in the coming weeks.

The point here is that the Knicks will have opportunities to upgrade the roster via trade. They’re still open to making a big move; if you caught them in an honest moment, they’d probably acknowledge that they need to make another significant move to contend for a title.

Apr 11, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; New York Knicks forward Bojan Bogdanovic (44) drives to the basket past Boston Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis (8) during the first half at TD Garden.

Can we waive Bogdonavic to free up cap space to sign OG and Hartenstein? - @BROOKLYNSAINTS

No, the Knicks wouldn’t waive Bojan Bogdanovic to generate more cap space for Hartenstein or Anunoby. Their decision on Bogdanovic will be made mostly independent of what they decide to offer Hartenstein or Anunoby.

If they waive Bogdanovic, it could lower a potential tax bill or keep them further from other salary limitations. But it wouldn’t directly create more cap space for Hartenstein or Anunoby. The Knicks can exceed the cap to sign both players. On Bogdanovic, his 2024-25 salary is $19 million. It is currently guaranteed for $2 million. The Knicks have the option to waive Bogdanovic without further financial penalty by June 26. If they keep him on the roster past June 26, his contract becomes fully guaranteed. I’d be a little surprised if New York doesn’t guarantee Bogdanovic’s deal for next season. He can obviously help the Knicks with scoring off the bench next season and his deal would also be valuable in any trade conversations.

What's an OG Anunoby extension going to look like? Do the Knicks have to fill it with games played minimums to protect themselves? Do they have to fully guarantee it? - @The_Cooler

What’s up, Cooler? The Knicks don’t need to fully guarantee Anunoby’s deal. If I had to guess, they’ll look to put some injury protections in the contract. But Anunoby should have other suitors in the market. We’ve noted that Philadelphia could pursue Anunoby. If the Sixers make an offer to Anunoby at a certain dollar amount or without injury protections, maybe it forces the Knicks to sign Anunoby without any protections.

Do you project the team to be a luxury tax team next season? - @Mavrik2190

As Yossi Gozlan notes in this article, the Knicks will likely be a luxury tax team next season if they re-sign Hartenstein and Anunoby. The Knicks haven’t been a consistent taxpayer in recent seasons but team governor James Dolan, by accounts of those who have worked for him in the past, hasn’t shied away from paying luxury tax for a contending team.

Do you think firing JB Bickerstaff make it more or less likely that the Cavs will trade Donovan Mitchell and if so, would the Knicks be interested or concerned about having such a small backcourt? - @rxmeister55

I’d say less likely but that’s just a guess. As of late last week, I don’t think the organization knew definitively if Mitchell would sign the extension he’s eligible for. Now, they have an opportunity to hire a coach who could push Mitchell towards staying.