Allonzo Trier’s 45-day service time limit in the NBA is set to expire next week (depending on when he returns from a hamstring injury), so the Knicks wasted no time in securing an NBA deal with the undrafted guard.
According to Shams Charania, the Knicks will sign Trier using their bi-annual exception to a two-year NBA contract. Ian Begley adds that the contract is valued at two-years, $7 million, with a team option in the second year. The terms of the deal suggest the Knicks used the max amount allowed with the bi-annual exception. Trier will make a starting salary of $3.4 million this season, with a 5% raise next season.
Since the Knicks plan on dropping below the cap to sign free agents this summer, they would have lost their bi-annual exception, anyway. This is a good use of the exception to pay Trier extra money over the course of this season, when they aren’t worried about their cap dollars, while securing him with a team option through next season on favorable terms.
Trier will be a restricted free agent in 2020 (assuming the Knicks pick up his team option) and the team will own his Early-Bird rights.
The Knicks maintain flexibility with their 2019 cap by having a team option on Trier’s second year. If they decide to exercise it, the cap hit for 2019 adds $3.5 million to the books, reducing their practical cap space to just below $30 million, depending on what they do with Trey Burke and Damyean Dotson. The Knicks would need $32.7 million to sign a free agent with 7-9 years of experience; they need $38.1 million to sign a free agent with 10+ years of experience, such as Kevin Durant.
To make a roster spot for Trier, the Knicks needed to trade or release a player, and it is expected they will release Ron Baker, per Shams Charania.
Baker played 92 games in New York, becoming a favorite of Jeff Hornacek, who saw himself in the hustle-first player. The Knicks will carry Baker’s $4.5 million salary as dead cap weight through the end of this season.