Kristaps Porzingis will be eligible for a contract extension soon, and the New York Knicks have all the intention to keep their prized big man. The problem is, Porzingis wants "change" within the franchise to happen first before making a long-term commitment.

Porzingis officially became the face of the Knicks franchise following the trade that sent All-Star Carmelo Anthony to the Oklahoma City Thunder just before training camp. At 22, the Latvian sensation now holds the key to the Knicks’ rebuilding effort that hit some snags the past few years under the auspices of former president Phil Jackson.

Porzingis Future

In less than nine months, the No.4 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft will be eligible for a designated rookie scale maximum contract extension that will pay him $148 million over five years. That is the same contract Andrew Wiggins of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers earned this offseason.

Should the Knicks fail to convince Porzingis to sign an extension deal, they could still keep him through restricted free agency in 2019. However, the Latvian can also exercise the option of accepting the Knicks’ qualifying offer worth $7.5 million for 2019-20 season. That scenario doesn’t bode well for New York as it would allow Porzingis to test the market as an unrestricted free agent.

In short, Knicks officials are once again in the race against time in their attempt to lock up their franchise player before he gets the chance to bolt out. It was the same situation the Knicks faced in 2014 when Melo became a free agent for the first time in his career.

To make sure Porzingis isn’t going anywhere, the Knicks front-office must initiate a concerted effort in putting quality supporting casts around him over the next two seasons.

Failure to make Porzingis feel ‘happy’ in the Big Apple would only trigger more speculations about a potential exit in 2019.

Of course, the Knicks could always explore trade options if they think Porzingis is becoming a flight risk. That’s said, the Porzingis-Knicks dynamic is certainly worth monitoring over the next two years.

More stuff out of trade rumors wire

Philadelphia 76ers big man Jahlil Okafor is another young player who direly needs a fresh start after two rough seasons in Philly. In an interview with SB Nation writer Jordan Brenner, the former No.3 pick admitted that thoughts of playing with another team certainly crossed his mind.

The Sixers have been trying to trade Okafor, but their steep asking price is scaring away potential suitors. The Chicago Bulls, Boston Celtics, and San Antonio Spurs are three teams that reportedly inquired about Okafor’s availability in the past, and many insiders expected these teams to revive interest in the big man as the mid-season trade deadline draws near.