The New York Knicks fully embraced rebuilding this season after trading Carmelo Anthony to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Kristaps Porzingis has now taken over as the face of the franchise and the arrival of other young players like guard Frank Ntilikina make the situation in the Big Apple worth monitoring in the next 2-3 years.

Bryan Kalbrosky of USA Today Dunkwire said the Knicks are not done with their house-cleaning effort. The next step for the team apparently is to find takers for high-earning veterans such as Joakim Noah, Courtney Lee, Lance Thomas, and Kyle O’Quinn.

Trading veterans

While the Knicks finally found a way to get rid of Melo’s $20+ million contract, there’s still a lot of moving parts to handle before they achieve some sort of financial flexibility. The Knicks' payroll currently stands at $103 million. There won’t be any steep decline in that number next year (projected at $93 million), and even worse is that Porzingis is eligible for a contract extension.

Ian Begley of ESPN New York reported that the Knicks are exhausting all options to unload burdensome contracts. They are expected to aggressively shop Lee ($12M per year) and Noah ($17M per year) over the next months with the hope of getting a nice trade package or even just a cap relief.

“People who have spoken to members of the Knicks’ front office lately have come away with the impression that the club would be open to trading Lee for the right return.

On the Noah front, the Knicks — under Phil Jackson — asked teams if they would take Noah in a deal in most of the conversations they had about potential [Kristaps] Porzingis trades during the spring and summer, according to sources,” Begley writes.

Aside from the veterans, the Knicks were also in discussion to trade Thomas and O’Quinn.

Enes Kanter, who could also be traded, makes things harder for these players to get significant playing time this season. According to NY writer John Schmeelk, New York will happily trade O’Quinn, who is still viewed as a serviceable backup center.

More news out of New York:

The Knicks announced that they have released point guard Trey Burke, guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes, and forward Nigel Hayes.

Out of the group, Burke took the biggest blow since he backed out of his contract with the OKC Thunder for an opportunity to compete for a roster spot in New York. His gamble didn’t pan out well and he’s once again a free agent. On the other hand, Rathan-Mayes and Hayes are bound to land with the Knicks’ G-League affiliate Westchester Knicks.