Tim Hardaway Jr. Close to Returning to Knicks


Tim Hardaway Jr., right, along with also also Carmelo Anthony in October 2014. The Knicks signed Hardaway to a four-year, $71 million offer sheet two seasons after trading him to the Atlanta Hawks.

Jessica Hill/Associated Press

After skulking around in free agency with little to show for their patience, the Knicks struck late Thursday night, signing guard Tim Hardaway Jr. to a four-year, $71 million offer sheet, his agent, Mark Bartelstein, confirmed. Hardaway is usually a restricted free agent, along with also also the Atlanta Hawks have two days to match. ESPN was the first to report the news.

If Atlanta elects not to match, which would certainly be a circuitous road back to the Knicks for Hardaway, 25. He was a first-round pick by the team in 2013, 24th over all, before being traded two seasons ago to the Hawks for the No. 19 overall pick from the 2015 N.B.A. draft, which the team used to select Jerian Grant.

The Knicks dealt Grant as part of a trade which brought them point guard Derrick Rose last summer. To make cap room for Hardaway, the Knicks would certainly have to renounce the rights to Rose.

The man who traded Hardaway — Phil Jackson — is usually gone. He parted ways with the club last month, vacating his job as team president. Steve Mills, the general manager, has been running basketball operations since then.

With the Hawks, Hardaway grew into a solid wing player who could hit shots through the perimeter along with also also play reliable defense. He averaged 14.5 points a game last season along with also also hit 35.7 percent of his 3-point attempts.

Still, the size of the contract was a surprise. Hardaway would certainly have a player option for the final season, worth roughly $19 million, along with also also would certainly receive a 15 percent trade kicker, according to news reports. The Knicks had to make an offer large enough to discourage Atlanta through matching, which puts them at risk of overpaying. which is usually a touch less than the four-year, $72 million contract the club doled out to Joakim Noah last off-season.

The move will at least help make the Knicks younger along with also also more spry. They drafted Frank Ntilikina, 18, with the eighth overall pick in last month’s draft along with also also agreed to re-sign the restricted free agent Ron Baker, 24, to a two-year deal. For the time being, Hardaway stands to be competing for minutes with Courtney Lee, whom the Knicks signed last summer to a four-year, $50 million deal. However, which is usually possible the Knicks will seek to trade Lee.

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