According to multiple NBA sources, the New York Knicks have signed Atlanta Hawks guard Tim Hardaway Jr. to a four-year offer sheet worth $71 million.
The 25-year-old Hardaway is a restricted free-agent. He spent the past two seasons with the Hawks after spending his first two in New York with the Knicks. He averaged 14.5 points off the bench for Atlanta this past year and figured to cash in on his breakout campaign.
The Hawks have until Saturday night to match the Knicks’ offer, which includes a 15 percent trade kicker and a player option in the fourth year.
Former team president Phil Jackson traded Hardaway to the Hawks during the 2015 NBA draft in exchange for the rights to Jerian Grant. Now New York is coughing up big bucks in order to bring him back to the Big Apple. The trade signifies yet another poor personnel move by Jackson, who made plenty of them during his tenure with the Knicks and was fired from the position last month.
This is a bold move for general manager and acting president Steve Mills, who is having a hard time getting free-agents to sign with the Knicks. He is pinning the hopes of the entire offseason on overpaying for a player who is best-suited to come off the bench. Hardaway has only started 62 regular season games over his four NBA seasons, not including the 15 playoff games he started for Atlanta this year. Courtney Lee is currently the starting shooting guard, but if the Hawks don’t match and Hardaway becomes a Knick once again, they could look to trade him with three years remaining on his contract..
Even with Hardaway potentially back with the team, that still doesn’t solve the Knicks’ point guard woes. League sources say they have been in contact with free-agents Derrick Rose, Rajon Rondo and Shelvin Mack. All three would be solid veterans to help mentor rookie point guard Frank Ntilikina.
Notes: According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Knicks have waived big man Marshall Plumlee. The 24-year-old averaged 1.9 points in 21 games during his lone season in New York.