The Knicks need to make a move to clear cap space for a max contract. Tim Hardaway Jr. and Courtney Lee are two names drawing interest.
According to Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic, teams have contacted the New York Knicks about veteran wings Courtney Lee and Tim Hardaway Jr. Trading either player would free up the cap space necessary to pursue a free agent like Kevin Durant in the offseason. Vorkunov writes:
“Teams have asked the Knicks about Hardaway Jr. and Lee, according to league sources, but the Knicks have been adamant about not attaching assets to move them.”
The front office has made it clear that they do not want to part ways with assets to move someone. Whether or not the Knicks stick to that plan will be the most interesting storyline around the Knicks for the next two weeks.
Hardaway is signed through 2021 and has a player option worth just under $19 million on the 2020-21 season. Lee is signed through 2020 and he’s set to make $12.8 million next season.
Both players will have value to contending teams. But both have contracts that may make teams hesitant to take on that kind of money. Perhaps a team will give in and trade for one of the veterans as the trade deadline approaches, but that remains to be seen.
The trade deadline shouldn’t feel like a deadline for the Knicks to move either of these contracts to clear out cap space. They will have other options as the draft approaches including stretching Lee’s contract. That’s more of a last resort as the Knicks have already stretched Joakim Noah’s brutal contract.
Regardless, Hardaway and Lee are two players to keep an eye on as February approaches.