Tim Hardaway Jr.

Knicks Notes: Hardaway, Porzingis, Draft, Perry

Knicks president Steve Mills had an aggressive plan that ultimately snared Tim Hardaway Jr., writes Newsday’s Al Iannazzone. Mills claims he reached out to Hardaway just after midnight on July 1. While Hardaway says that he didn’t hear from the Knicks until a few days into free agency, it is clear that Mills aggressively pursued the former Knick.

“We felt like there are not that many opportunities in free agency that you have the opportunity to go after a 25-year-old. We made the decision that if you want to pry a restricted free agent away from the incumbent team, you have to be aggressive. So we made a decision to be aggressive,” Mills said.

Reportedly, the Knicks brass believed that the Hawks would be willing to offer $45MM for four years, so Mills and company needed to be “aggressive” and offered $71MM over four years. Although Hardaway has started just 62 of 281 games in his career, Mills believes that he is a starting shooting guard in the NBA.

“As we look at the numbers, we believe Tim is a starting two-guard in this league. Our trajectory for him is to be a starting two- guard, the capability of being a starting two-guard for the rest of his career. And those guys average 16, 16.5 million dollars today. So that’s how we came to the decision,” the Knicks president said.

Here’s what else you should know regarding the Knicks:

  • Also in Iannazzone’s Newsday piece, Mills speaks to his relationship with team cornerstone, Kristaps Porzingis. “Kristaps and I have a hectic texting relationship. I continue to text Kristaps over the summer and he and I have spoken two or three times over the summer,” Mills said. Phil Jackson confirmed he was fielding trade offers for Porzingis around the draft, but since Jackson left the team, the Knicks have stated that they will build around the Latvian center.
  • By going young this season, the Knicks could score big in the 2018 NBA Draft, writes Adam Zagoria of FanRag Sports Network. If Carmelo Anthony is dealt, the Knicks could enter full-scale rebuilding mode, possibly setting them up for the first overall pick in the next draft. Zagoria mentions Michael Porter Jr., DeAndre Ayton, Mohamed Bamba, Luka Doncic, and Marvin Bagley as potential targets if the Knicks were to land the top selection.
  • In a press conference, Mills spoke about new GM Scott Perry‘s role with the team, relays Steve Popper of USA Today. “I’m going to give Scott the room to make basketball decisions and make recommendations to me,” Mills said. “He’s going to have a chance to manage the coaching staff, manage the scouting staff, and make recommendations as to where we should go as a basketball organization. I think we’ll be partners in that in the sense that he’ll come to me with his recommendation and we’ll debate it back and forth. But at the end of the day, I’m giving him the room to make those decisions.” Mills also emphasized that the goal is for the Knicks to be a younger, more athletic team, while head coach Jeff Hornacek stressed hustle and defense as the lynchpins of the new team.
  • Mills said that, if he were in charge, he “would’ve selected Frank [Ntilikina] at that point in the draft myself,” per Marc Berman of The New York Post. Mills continued, “He’s a guy that fits in everything that we’re talking about right now. He’s a smart basketball player. He focuses defensively and his approach to the game, his work ethic, fit exactly in the direction that we want to take this team.”

Atlantic Notes: Sixers, Perry, Wiley

While much of the credit for “the process” can be attributed to Sam Hinkie, current general manager Bryan Colangelo has made a series of moves to keep the Sixers headed in the right direction, Moke Hamilton of Basketball Insiders writes.

This summer Colangelo opted to bring a pair of veterans aboard and the impact they’ll have on the Sixers is clear.

Now we have guys that can help grow the program with leadership, mentorship, and professionalism,” Colangelo said of the newest Sixers, Amir Johnson and J.J. Redick.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • That’s enough optimism for one week, Knicks fans. Marc Berman of the New York Post devoted a column to recently appointed general manager Scott Perry‘s involvement in the front office that gave Bismack Biyombo a four-year, $71MM contract.
  • After growing as a player, Tim Hardaway Jr. believes that Knicks fans skeptical of his lofty contract will see that the controversial move wasn’t a mistake. The shooting guard opened up to Steve Serby of New York Post about his return to the team that drafted him.
  • The 7-11 nickname for Celtics wings Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum was never meant to be, D.J. Bean of CSN New England writes. Following the trade that sent Avery Bradley to the Pistons, Tatum has decided to re-adopt the jersey number he wore during his one season at Duke: 0.
  • Now signed to a two-way contract with the Nets, recently acquired Jacob Wiley has an opportunity he never envisioned as recently as six months ago. Brian Lewis of the New York Post has penned an excellent feature on the forward’s tumultuous path.

Hawks Don’t Match Knicks’ Hardaway Offer Sheet

2:08pm: Tim Hardaway Jr. is now officially a Knick, as Hardaway’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, says that Atlanta has officially not matched, per Marc Berman of The New York Post (link via Twitter).

1:45pm: The Hawks have informed the Knicks that they will not match New York’s offer sheet on Tim Hardaway Jr., reports Shams Charania of The Vertical (link via Twitter).

11:27am: The Hawks don’t intend to match the Knicks’ four-year, $71MM offer sheet for Tim Hardaway Jr., reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. As Wojnarowski notes, the formal deadline for Atlanta to make its decision is still hours away, but Hardaway will ultimately be a Knick — again.Tim Hardaway Jr. vertical

[RELATED: Knicks sign Tim Hardaway Jr. to offer sheet]

Hardaway, 25, enjoyed the best season of his NBA career in 2016/17, averaging 14.5 PPG, 2.8 RPG, and 2.3 APG in 79 games (30 starts) for the Hawks. He also posted a career-best FG% (.455) and had a .357 3PT%, and was even better after the All-Star break, with 17.5 PPG in 25 contests.

While Hardaway’s production was solid and he still has room to improve, the Knicks’ $71MM offer – which came at a time when most teams didn’t have much cap room available – was a surprise. The Hawks were reportedly willing to do a deal in the four-year, $48MM range for Hardaway, but decided not to match a Knicks offer that would hamper their cap flexibility more significantly. Atlanta will have room left over to pursue another RFA or accommodate another salary dump.

In addition to averaging nearly $18MM annually, the Knicks’ deal with Hardaway includes a fourth-year player option and a 15% trade bonus, according to previous reports. The agreement also calls for the shooting guard to receive 50% of his annual salary by October 1 each year.

With Hardaway in the mix, the Knicks will have little – if any – cap room available to spend on other free agents, though the club will still have its $4.3MM room exception. New York also had to renounce its rights to Derrick Rose, among other free agents, in order to clear the space necessary for Hardaway. That all but rules out the possibility of a reunion between Rose and the Knicks, since the team no longer holds his Bird rights.

Hardaway was originally drafted by New York with the No. 24 pick in the 2013 draft. The Knicks traded him to the Hawks in a 2015 draft night trade that netted them Jerian Grant. Grant was traded to the Bulls during the following offseason as part of a package that brought Rose to the Big Apple.

As Marc Berman of the New York Post wrote earlier today, the Knicks’ brain trust views Hardaway as part of a long-term ‘core four’ for the franchise, alongside Kristaps PorzingisWilly Hernangomez, and Frank Ntilikina.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eastern Notes: Hardaway Jr., Celtics, Morris, Hawks

The Knicks‘ four-year, $71MM offer sheet to restricted free agent Tim Hardaway Jr. took many by surprise given that New York is prepared to make a lofty investment in a player the team recently traded. Yet, if the Hawks do not match the Knicks’ offer sheet, the team views Hardaway as part of a ‘core four’ alongside Kristaps Porzingis, Willy Hernangomez, and Frank Ntilikina, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes.

Hardaway, just 25 years old, is coming off a solid year in Atlanta, as he averaged 14.5 PPG and 2.8 RPG while shooting .455% from the floor in 79 games. Hardaway was originally drafted by the Knicks in 2013 but was dealt for Jerian Grant after two seasons in the Big Apple. If he does return, Hardaway will fit the Knicks’ current mold of a young, athletic player — something former team president Phil Jackson didn’t necessarily prioritize during his tenure.

As for Ntilikina, the soon-to-be 19-year-old will look to be a sponge in his first few seasons, learning from veterans and experienced youngsters. Bringing back a productive former member of the team would be a good first step.

Below are additional notes around the Easter Conference:

  • The Celtics have made major upgrades this offseason, none bigger than agreeing to a four-year deal with Gordon Hayward. However, general manager Danny Ainge is still not satisfied with the roster and will pursue upgrades, Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald writes. The team created space for Hayward by rading Avery Bradley to the Pistons for Marcus Morris on Friday, and can now afford to be patient and consider the market before making any other deals.
  • Speaking of Morris, he will be a missed presence in the Pistons locker room, Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press writes. After coming to Detroit from the Suns in 2015, Ellis writes that Morris’ attitude and intensity resonated with his teammates, fans, and the city of Detroit.
  • The Hawks have announced the hiring of veteran NBA coach Chris Jent. Jent, who played professionally for 11 seasons, has previously served on coaching staffs for the Sixers, Magic, Cavaliers, and Kings.

Atlantic Rumors: Celtics, Crowder, Knicks, Buycks

In the wake of today’s trade with the Pistons that sends Avery Bradley to Detroit, the Celtics have no intention of moving Jae Crowder and have no “pressing” deals on the go, reports Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe (Twitter links). Himmelsbach adds that Boston will look to use its room exception, and the team never rules out the possibility of more dealing, as Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald tweets. For now, though, nothing appears imminent.

One player who could be a candidate for the Celtics’ room exception is free agent center Dewayne Dedmon. Jabari Young of The San Antonio Express-News suggests (via Twitter) that he kept hearing at the Utah Summer League how intrigued the Celtics are by Dedmon. However, it’s not clear if that interest is mutual, particularly given Boston’s cap limitations.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Asked today about the trade rumors surrounding Paul George, Pacers president Kevin Pritchard told reporters that the rumored offers from the Celtics and other teams were only about 5% correct (Twitter link via Matt Glenesk of The Indianapolis Star).
  • The Knicks were impressed by guard Dwight Buycks‘ performance in Summer League and are interested in signing him to their offseason roster, sources tell Ian Begley of ESPN.com. Buycks helped lead the Mavericks’ squad to an Orlando Summer League title this week.
  • The Knicks‘ offer sheet for Tim Hardaway Jr. includes the same advance salary structure as Otto Porter‘s deal with the Nets, tweets ESPN’s Zach Lowe. Hardaway’s deal calls for 50% of his annual salary to be paid by October 1 annually.
  • Veteran guard Sergio Rodriguez, who spent the season with the Sixers, prefers to remain in the NBA. However, CSKA Moscow is making a push to lure him back overseas, according to Nikos Varlas of Eurohoops. The Russian club lost Milos Teodosic to the Clippers in free agency.

Eastern Rumors: Nets, Hardaway, Hornets, Celtics

Before Rudy Gay signed with the Spurs, the Nets expressed interest in the veteran forward, having viewed him as a contingency plan in the event that the Wizards match their offer sheet for Otto Porter, reports Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link).

With Gay off the board and Porter likely to be retained by Washington, the Nets will be a “strong contender” for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com. That’s no surprise, now that the 24-year-old is unrestricted, but for Caldwell-Pope to be an option for Brooklyn, his camp may have to be patient, since the Nets’ cap room may be tied up for a few days until the Wizards make their decision on Porter official.

Here’s more from around the East:

  • Before the Knicks swooped in with a $71MM offer sheet, the Hawks were willing to offer Tim Hardaway Jr. a four-year deal in the $48MM range, league sources tell ESPN’s Zach Lowe. We’ll see if Atlanta is willing to go significantly higher than that to match New York’s offer, or if Hardaway will return to the Knicks.
  • The Hornets are in the market for another big man, GM Rich Cho said today (Twitter link via Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer). Charlotte is also evaluating whether to sign a third point guard or keep Briante Weber in that role. Weber has a non-guaranteed contract.
  • Raptors president Masai Ujiri said today that he’s comfortable entering the 2017/18 season as a tax team, but there’s still plenty of time to make moves. He’s waiting for the trade market to open up a little, tweets Josh Lewenberg of TSN 1050.
  • The plan for the Celtics has always been to have draft-and-stash prospect Guerschon Yabusele on their roster this fall, a league source tells Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe (Twitter link). As ESPN’s Bobby Marks notes (via Twitter), Boston will likely need to waive or trade Jordan Mickey and Demetrius Jackson to retain Yabusele’s cap hold.

Knicks Sign Tim Hardaway To Offer Sheet

Tim Hardaway Jr. has signed an offer sheet from the Knicks, Shams Charania of The Vertical reports (Twitter link). Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com tweets that the deal is for $71MM over four years.

The deal contains a player option on the final year of the deal, Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today adds (Twitter link). ESPN’s Ian Begley tweets that the contract contains a 15% trade kicker. The Hawks will have two days to make a decision on whether or not to match all the terms of the deal.

New York currently doesn’t have the cap space to make this lucrative of an offer. However, the organization has an easy path to opening up cap space in that it can simply renounce the rights to Derrick Rose, as ESPN’s Bobby Marks notes (Twitter link). Rose has a cap hold of approximately $29.7MM.

Hardaway Jr. was drafted by New York with the No. 24 pick in the 2013 draft. The Knicks traded him to the Hawks in a 2015 draft night trade that netted them Jerian Grant. Grant was traded to the Bulls during the following offseason as part of a package that brought Rose to the Big Apple.

Tim Hardaway Sr. tells Marc Berman of the New York Post (Twitter link) that his son has no “bad blood” with the organization. The shooting guard knows that the executive who traded him is no longer with the organization.

Tim Hardaway Jr. Receives Qualifying Offer

The Hawks have extended a qualifying offer to shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr., making him a restricted free agent, Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

The qualifying offer is for $3,335,707 but Hardaway Jr. is likely to receive a lucrative offer sheet during free agency. He averaged 14.5 PPG, 2.8 RPG and 2.3 APG in 79 games last season. His playing time increased after Kyle Korver was dealt to the Cavaliers.

He declared after the season that he would prefer to stay in Atlanta.

Hawks Notes: Schlenk, Millsap, Draft, Hardaway

While Hawks controlling owner Tony Ressler will have to sign off on major decisions, new general manager Travis Schlenk will have the final say on basketball matters, as Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal Constitution details. Ressler was clear in today’s introduction of Schlenk to the media that he has complete confidence in his new GM to make those calls.

“He runs basketball operations,” Ressler said of Schlenk to Vivlamore. “I did not bring him in here for me to make basketball decisions. I hope that is as clear as I can be. Yes, every ownership has to sign off on numbers, on (salary) caps, on (luxury) tax. Yes, I will sign off on the business. I promise you I did not bring Travis in here so I can make basketball decisions.”

Ressler’s comment came in response to a question regarding free-agent-to-be Paul Millsap, after a report last month suggested that Millsap would negotiate directly with team ownership. I’d expect Ressler to be involved in those contract talks, but it sounds as if he’s ready to let Schlenk take the reins.

Here’s more from Vivlamore on the Hawks:

  • Schlenk on Millsap, per Vivlamore: “Paul, obviously, is a four-time All-Star. Arguably, the best player on this team. Probably is the best player on this team. That’s going to be a priority. But, for me, right now I’ve got to get with Coach [Mike Budenholzer] and his staff and my front-office staff and over the next three weeks, we’ve got to hammer out a plan for the future. Certainly, Paul is going to be a priority in that.”
  • The Hawks currently have a list of nine prospects that they’re eyeing with the No. 19 overall pick in this year’s draft, according to Schlenk (Twitter link via Vivlamore).
  • In a separate piece for the AJC, Vivlamore identifies five key items on Atlanta’s offseason to-do list that Schlenk will need to address in the coming weeks, including Millsap’s future, Tim Hardaway Jr.‘s restricted free agency, and more. Vivlamore speculates that Hardway will command at least $10MM annually on a new deal.
  • There’s still a place for Dwight Howard on Atlanta’s roster, per Schlenk (link via Vivlamore). The veteran center sounded discouraged at season’s end with his role, but the new Hawks GM sounds interested in moving forward with Howard in the mix.

Tim Hardaway Jr. Wants To Stay With Hawks

Tim Hardaway didn’t choose to join the Hawks. He arrived in Atlanta via a 2015 draft trade which sent the No. 19 overall pick to New York in exchange for the shooting guard. Hardaway Jr. admits that his tenure with the team didn’t get off to the best start, but he’s worked hard and it appears he found a home.

“I love it here,” Hardaway Jr. said (via KL Chouinard of NBA.com). “Atlanta brought me here, and it really felt like I was starting as a rookie all over again when I was here. With that being said, they made me go through some tough times and it made me mature a lot more as a person – on and off the court. It made me appreciate the game of basketball a whole lot more than I did when I first came into the league. That’s what I’m thankful for.”

[RELATED: Five Key Offseason Questions: Atlanta Hawks]

Hardaway Jr. credits Atlanta’s training staff for his improvement this past season. They assisted him with his lifting regiment and with getting his body fat down to an astounding percentage. “It’s clearly under 6,” he said. “We measure it every other week, so I’m definitely below 6.”

The Hawks needed a playmaker to step up after trading away Kyle Korver and Hardaway Jr. was able to answer the call. He averaged a career-highs in points (14.5), assists (2.3), and three-pointers made (1.9) per game this season.

The former No.24 overall pick made approximately $2.28MM this past season and he’s likely to see a substantial raise on that figure with a new deal this offseason. He’ll be a restricted free agent come July.

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