Pistons Interested In Tim Hardaway Jr.?

4:55pm: Pistons coach/executive Stan Van Gundy said today that he’s never talked to the Knicks about a Hardaway-Jennings deal, tweets Keith Langlois of Pistons.com.

9:31am: A person with firsthand knowledge of the Pistons’ thinking tells Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press that there’s nothing to the chatter involving Hardaway and Jennings (Twitter link).

8:08am: The Pistons have reached out to the Knicks about trading for Tim Hardaway Jr., league sources tell Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com, who writes at the bottom of a larger piece about Kevon Looney. Begley suggests that the Pistons would want to send back Brandon Jennings in such a deal, though it’s not clear if that’s truly the case or if the Knicks would be willing to take on the point guard who’s still recovering from a torn Achilles, at least without receiving other assets in return.

Hardaway has shown promise the last two seasons since the Knicks took him 24th overall in the 2013 draft, averaging 10.8 points on 35.3% shooting in 23.5 minutes per game. He improved slightly this past season, one in which he started in 30 of 70 appearances. It’s unclear whether the Pistons see him as a backup or a potential competitor for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope for the starting job at shooting guard.

The rookie scale salary of less than $1.305MM that Hardaway is to receive next season wouldn’t be a match for the nearly $8.345MM that Jennings is set to make. The Knicks don’t have a trade exception large enough for Jennings, so New York would have to add other salary to a Jennings-Hardaway swap if it took place before June 30th. However, both teams are poised to open cap space in July, so they could do a one-for-one like that as under-the-cap teams next month without having to worry about salary-matching.

It wouldn’t be surprising if picks in this week’s draft were involved, though that’s just my speculation. The Knicks have been widely rumored to have interest in trading back from the No. 4 spot. Detroit has the eighth pick.

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