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Report: Knicks expect Kyle O’Quinn to opt out

Boston Celtics v New York Knicks

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 21: Kyle O’Quinn #9 of the New York Knicks reacts in the fourth quarter against the Boston Celtics during their game at Madison Square Garden on December 21, 2017 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

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One reason the Knicks (18-18) are surprisingly in the playoff mix: Kyle O’Quinn is having a career year.

The center is scoring efficiently inside and from mid-range, cleaning up on the glass, protecting the rim and even distributing some (though that has come with more turnovers). Everything is coming together for him.

That leads to a question: Will O’Quinn exercise his $4,256,250 player option for next season?

Marc Berman of the New York Post:

The Knicks are under the impression O’Quinn, a Queens product who is on a modest pact considering his improvement this season, will opt out this summer.

Maybe O’Quinn, who would be a 28-year-old free agent, will opt out. There’s definitely a chance he earns a raise or at least a long-term contract that justifies forgoing his guaranteed salary. But it’ll also be a tight market, especially for centers.

I wouldn’t put it past the Knicks to portray O’Quinn’s opt out as more of a certainty than it is in order to facilitate a trade. Potential trade partners want certainty, one way or another, on those decisions. Teams could view O’Quinn as a rental.

Meanwhile, the Knicks could clear their logjam at center with Enes Kanter, O’Quinn, Willy Hernangomez and Joakim Noah.