Late Thursday night reports emerged from New York that the New York Knicks signed Tim Hardaway Jr. the Atlanta Hawks restricted free agent to a $71 million four-year offer sheet.
The Hawks have 48 hours to match the Knicks offer sheet if they want to keep Hardaway Jr. Hardaway, who is 25, proved last season that he might soon develop into one of the elite offensive players in the league.
However, he averaged only 14.3 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.6 assists in the 27.2 minutes he played on average each game. Many are questioning the amount the Knicks are willing to pay for a player that has those kinds of numbers, especially for one who has a reputation of being a liability on defense.
NBA insiders say Atlanta was considering a contract for Hardaway of about $45 million and with what he signed, he should be an easy decision for Atlanta to let the guard leave.
Hardaway is no stranger to the Knicks organization. He was drafted in 2013 with the No. 24 pick overall by New York, but was traded in 2015 to Atlanta for the rights to Jerian Grant, but the Knicks then packaged Robin Lopez and Grant in a trade during 2016 to Chicago for the Bulls’ Derrick Rose, only to renounce the rights to Rose on Thursday so salary cap space could be made for Hardaway.
The idea to sign Hardaway is said to have been Steve Mills’ the Knicks General Manager, who has been running the operations while the organization attempts to find a new president for the team after parting ways last week with Phil Jackson.
One strange twist to the Hardaway offer sheet is that the Knicks signed a deal of $52 million last year with Courtney Lee and he plays the same position as Hardaway. That means Lee might be dealt somewhere else or the team will have a very expensive shooting guard duo.
However, the biggest unknown still causing problems in the organization is the future of Carmelo Anthony. The star high scoring forward for the Knicks is holding a $124 million contract with a no-trade clause and apparently will only agree to be traded to less than a handful of teams.
If Anthony decides he wants to remain and the Knicks can make some solid transactions to help build a team around him, the future could start to look better, but until that happens or he is traded, things will continue to be quite turbulent in Madison Square Garden.