Tom Thibodeau decided to sit most of the Knicks starting five in the first leg of the back-to-back preseason matchups against Boston (Tuesday) and Washington (Wednesday). But Immanuel Quickley didn’t get to start, nor even play, against the Celtics.
Tom Thibodeau decided to start most of the Knicks starting five in the second leg of the back-to-back. So Immanuel Quickley didn’t play because he’s currently a backup in this NYK roster. Only, you know, IQ didn’t log a single minute for the second time in as many games and was scratched from the gameday squad because, according to Thibs, he was “nicked up just a little bit.”
Unless you have been living under a rock for the past two months—or two years for that matter—you know that Quickley and the Knicks have a decision to make before Oct. 23rd on the last day he can sign an extension to stay within the organization without becoming a restricted free agent next summer.
So yeah, perhaps Thibs really said that the guard was “Knicked up,” instead of “nicked up,” which is hard to believe with less than a week between the preseason finale and Doomsday.
Or perhaps Thibs was honest and the Knicks are simply keeping their guard under wraps and healthy for the regular season and the postseason, not having that much interest in re-upping him.
Keep in mind that Quickley is coming off a Sixth Man of the Year-caliber season. Yes, he’s also coming off a postseason run in which his numbers cratered, but that’s a fairly tiny sample and through the final weeks of regular-season play Quickley was beyond superb.
IQ put up a 22-5-5 line in 21 starts. Funnily enough, the Knicks know very well what can happen when a backup guard signs with a new team and becomes a starter. It’s not unreasonable to think that somebody out there will be more than willing to gamble on super-sub Quickley, hand him the reins of a franchise, and watch him turn into Jalen Brunson 2.0—only, the other way around.
I don’t think anybody expects Quickley and his agent to convince any front office to hand him the max dough. That said, it’s possible that presenting his resume and ever-improving stature in the league since he joined the Knicks in 2020, IQ ends up getting inked to something closer to $100+ million than below that triple-digit figure.
Our own Russell Richardson (by way of Kristian Winfield) touched on the potential outcome of this saga a few days ago. Is it too crazy to think Quickley can get Devin Vassell-type money? The Spurs signed their unknown-by-the-casuals-player to a five-year, $135 million extension a few days ago and the hoopsverse went bananas. Check this out:
Vassell in red, Quickley in blue. Vassell the 11th pick in 2020, Quickley the 21st. Don’t worry too much about what “DPM” stands for—you can read everything about it here—and focus on where each of these is trending toward. See that line skyrocketing? Yep, that’s IQ for you.
Of course, the Knicks will definitely try to reach an agreement with Quickley. In fact, I’m positive both parties would benefit from it as long as the Knicks eventually settled on a three-man-heavy rotation at guard.
Then again, the Knicks have signed Donte DiVincenzo to a hefty deal this summer, so the Brunson-Grimes-Quickley is no more. This, in turn, leads to another whole new world of questions: what about Quentin Grimes? Will the Knicks want him around by signing him to an extension once the decision time comes next year? Will New York prefer to pay IQ instead? Wait and try again with QG next fall? Trade one? Trade both?
Sitting Quickley this week—injured or not—was reasonable to avoid trouble and definitely the right choice. That, however, was only the tip of the iceberg.
Three seasons in the books, one yet to play under his rookie deal, but only four days to make a final decision.
The clock’s ticking.