New York Knicks News Mix, 7/10/17: Tim Hardaway Jr. Wants Melo Back
Jan 21, 2017; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Hawks guard Tim Hardaway Jr. (10) shoots the ball against the Philadelphia 76ers in the third quarter at Philips Arena. The Hawks won 110-93. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

While speaking about rejoining the New York Knicks, Tim Hardaway Jr. brought up Carmelo Anthony and his return to the team that drafted him.

For the second straight summer, the New York Knicks handed out a massive contract that made little sense. Joakim Noah was the target a year ago, and the new recipient was Tim Hardaway Jr. New York gave him $71 million over four years.

On Monday, Hardaway spoke to reporters for the first time since becoming a Knick. Again. The 25-year-old talked about the possibility of playing with former teammate Carmelo Anthony again.

Hardaway made it clear that he wants his old teammate back.

Via Ian Begley of ESPN New York:

“Yeah, it’s an odd feeling. Melo’s got to do what’s best for his family and for him. Yes, we definitely want him back – no question,” Hardaway Jr. said during a chat with reporters at a Knicks youth camp. “Just having that veteran leader out there on the floor, a go-to guy who can get you a bucket any given moment of the game, it’s great. It’s great to have that. You want to have that. It’ll be tough for him to leave. But like I say, he has to do what’s best for him and his family.”

Melo is the only Knick remaining from Hardaway’s previous stint on the team. The son of the former Knicks nemesis is excited about returning to the team that drafted him.

“I’m not going to lie. I did think about it. Everything happens for a reason. When I got the call I was very, very happy. I was excited,” the 25-year-old said. “It was another opportunity. With me being an older, more mature person, (I’m) taking this very very serious.”

After a breakout season with the Hawks in 2016-17, the Knicks were interested in the player they saw. He averaged 14.5 points per game on 45.5 percent shooting from the field.

The most surprising Hardaway quote came when he talked about how the Knicks told him he needed to improve on both offense and defense.

“They loved how I competed on both ends of the floor, they saw the energy I gave and it was a great feeling just to hear all of that,” Hardaway Jr. said. “…They said straight up you have to obviously improve a lot more on defense and improve a lot more on the offensive end. So you can never settle.”

I'm ESNY's Executive Editor for I cover the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets. Email: Chip Murphy covers the NBA for Elite Sports NY. You can find him on Twitter @ChipperMurphy.