Adam Zagoria is reporting that the Knicks are expected to convert Allonzo Trier from a two-way to a standard NBA contract this week. Trier’s 45 day NBA service limit was set to expire on December 15, but a hamstring injury will keep him out of basketball activities for at least the rest of this week, and thus, delaying his service time deadline until he recovers.
Zagoria has covered Trier closely since high school. He followed him all the way through college. Beyond writing for his own ZagsBlog, Zagoria contributes to the Arizona Daily Star. If there is a local reporter to trust with Trier news, it is Zags.
Trier sat out of Sunday night’s game due to a hamstring injury. After an incredible start to the season as an undrafted rookie, he has cooled of late, shooting only 35.7% in December, down from 48.9% the previous month. He is averaging 11.3 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 1.9 assists on the season.
Of course, for the Knicks to sign Trier to an NBA contract, they will need to create a roster spot. There has been no leaked reports of who the team might waive to make space for the Arizona rookie.
Once they create a roster spot, the easiest path to sign Trier is to convert his two-way contract into a standard NBA contract at the league minimum rate for the rest of the season, which coincides with the remaining length of his two-way contract. It is unclear if this is the path that Zagoria is reporting the Knicks will take.
If the Knicks want to sign Trier for more than the league minimum or for longer than the rest of this season, they have limited options since they are operating over the salary cap.
Their only option is to trade players to create cap space (unlikely) or use a salary cap exception to sign him. The salary cap exceptions available to them are as follows:
- Minimum Salary Exception, pro-rated down from $838K for Trier this season, for up to two seasons.
- Bi-Annual Exception, starting up to $3.4M, for up to two seasons
- Mid-Level Exception, starting up to $655K this season, but for up to four seasons.
Since Trier has less than 3 years of service in the league, he would become a restricted free agent if signed for the rest of this season (or even if signed through next season).