In the most recent Knicks news, the team signed Tim Hardaway Jr. to a $71 million offer sheet for four years. Formerly a shooting guard for New York, Hardaway spent the better part of the last two seasons in an Atlanta Hawks uniform, briefly doing a stint in the D-League.
This signing created an array of responses throughout social media, which were not all positive. Many fans were upset and even went as far as calling the young player “trash.” Perhaps it’s the optimist in me, but maybe there is a silver lining somewhere in this deal.
The Knicks let Tim go the first time for a reason. Coming out of Michigan with a famous NBA dad, expectations ran high for the young Hardaway. In his first season he only averaged just a little over 10 points a game and didn’t seem to add much else to the offensive or defensive end. He only improved his points per game by one point the following year and dipped down to just 6.4 ppg after being traded to Atlanta. As mentioned earlier, he was even knocked down to the D-League for a time because of the Hawks believed he wasn’t getting it done.
With the lackluster play, it seems like $71 million is a lot of money, showing once again that the Knicks have a bad habit of paying a lot for a little (I.e. Joakim Noah). With Carmelo Anthony possibly on his way out, one would think that all the focus would be on extending Melo’s contract, not signing someone like Hardaway to such a huge sum. Yet, maybe there is still something good at play here.
If Tim Hardaway Jr. were to cite a mentor, it would be Carmelo Anthony. The two were paired up for two seasons, with Anthony lending some advice to the young shooting guard. Resigning him may be a ploy to keep Anthony playing at the Garden. Since his last time here, Hardaway’s numbers took a dip in his first year with the Hawks, but he returned with a small vengeance, averaging 14.5 points per game during the regular season last year.
Hardaway has gained much more experience since his last stint with the Knicks, including some playoff experience that he didn’t have previously. He doesn’t have to be the main scorer on the squad, or even the the number two option. On the defensive end, as long as the Knicks manage to hold on to Courtney Lee, he wouldn’t have to add much either. He could play as either the starting two guard or the backup that leads the bench.
At the age of 25, Hardaway is still pretty young and hasn’t hit his prime yet, so maybe Knicks fans can give him a break. If he can maintain the same level of play or (and hopefully) better then last year then maybe Tim Hardaway Jr. could prove himself to be quite the valuable addition to the Knicks roster.
Signing Hardaway wasn’t the move that many Knicks fans were hoping for, but it was the move they got. Hopefully the young shooting guard can mold himself once again into the offense and add the depth that the team needs right now. It’s still early, but maybe there is a chance this lemon can be turned into a $71 million pitcher of lemonade.