Everybody’s up in arms about the New York Knicks signing Tim Hardaway Jr. to a four-year, $71 million offer sheet. We tell you why.
Some guys just never learn. The New York Knicks were quiet during free agency. It seemed like they were sticking with the plan to go young and not spend this summer. For once, the Knicks were sticking with a plan. Then ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski dropped a signature bomb that shook Knicks Twitter to the core.
The Knicks agreed to a four-year, $71 million offer sheet with Atlanta Hawks shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr. It gets worse. Per Ian Begley of ESPN New York, the deal includes a 15 percent trade kicker (more money to Hardaway if the Knicks trade him) and the fourth year is a player option.
For any of you out there hoping that the Hawks will match this crazy contract, put that out of your heads quickly. ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz debunked that theory almost immediately after Woj and Begley broke the news. Arnovitz stated the Hawks were thinking something in the neighborhood of $45 million for Hardaway. So, yes. Tim Haradaway Jr. is going to be a Knick.
The last memories New York Knicks fans have of Hardaway was his play during the 2014-15 campaign. The worst season in franchise history. Hardaway started a game against the Indiana Pacers and played 20 minutes. He went 0-of-9 from the field and 0-of-4 on three-point attempts. The youngster finished with a single point.
Team president Phil Jackson gave up on Hardaway, and he was traded away months later. Two years have gone by, and the 25-year-old has rehabilitated his career with the Atlanta Hawks. Head coach Mike Budenholzer beat some defense into Hardaway by benching him and sending the guy down to the G-league on multiple occasions.
For the next three or four years, fans will talk about this deal as one of legend. Phil Jackson truthers will refer to it as the one their hero never would’ve let happen. One thing is clear is that it’s an awful contract.
Let’s take a look at just how bad it is. It impacts multiple areas of the franchise. Maybe you want to see this, and maybe you don’t. Take a look either way.
Ian Begley points out that Hardaway’s deal takes the possibility of Rose and Rondo out of play. Frank could’ve learned a lot from Rondo. Everybody said he was a great mentor to the Chicago Bulls young players this season. The championship winning veteran stuck up for them with Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler. That earned him praise in the media.
Frank and Kristaps Porzingis are the most important thing, so doing anything that would compromise their future is crazy. Now New York will have to settle for a guy like Mack. He’s a career backup who can’t shoot.
With Ron Baker that makes two point guards who can’t shoot. We’ll see about Frank. The history of international players suggests the three-point line will be unkind to him as a rookie.
The Carmelo Factor
We know Hardaway and Anthony are close. Did Anthony push for this to happen, and does this mean he’s staying?
Whether the answers to those questions are yes or not, it’s a bad look to overpay your star who’s reportedly on the trading block. Unless he’s not.
No Need for Him
The Knicks already have Courtney Lee. The veteran shooting guard was one of their most valuable players last season and is on a reasonable deal. Lee makes just over $11 million next season. His contract in total was worth $48 million over four years.
However you slice it, Hardaway is not $23 million better than Lee. When the Knicks already had a perfectly serviceable shooting guard on their roster, this deal just makes no sense.
Justin Holiday was signed by the Chicago Bulls over the weekend for two-years, $9 million. The Knicks could’ve had a guy who’s already familiar with their system and coach for $60 million less. Instead, they decided not to even make Holiday a competitive offer.
That was New York’s first gaffe of free agency, but it was minor. This one is a doozy.
Over 30 percent of New York’s cap next season will be on Joakim Noah and Hardaway. Yikes. Now Tim Hardaway might be an excellent player, but this is still a troubling fact.
That’s over 30 percent of your cap on guys the fans don’t want in your jersey. Don’t get me wrong, running your team to please the fans is ludicrous but it’s also bad business to regularly make deals you know will upset them.
The Knicks seem determined to do that.