Tim Hardaway Jr.

Southwest Notes: Hardaway, Pelicans, White, Rockets

Tim Hardaway Jr. struggled as a sixth man option for the Mavericks at the beginning of the 2019/20 season, as Eddie Sefko of Mavs.com details.

“I knew that wasn’t my game,” Hardaway said. “An opportunity [to start] presented itself. I tried to make the most of it. And here we are today.” Hardaway has improved since moving to the Mavericks’ starting five on November 20, averaging 16.5 PPG and shooting 43.1% from long range.

There’s more out of the Southwest Division:

  • The Pelicans will be getting their No. 1 draft pick, Zion Williamson, back from a knee injury on January 22 against the Spurs. In the meantime, recent losses to the Jazz and Clippers have taught the team some valuable lessons about competing at a playoff level, according to William Guillory of The Athletic.
  • Spurs guard Derrick White‘s adeptness at drawing charges from opponents stems in part from his father Richard, who played high school basketball in DeKalb, Georgia, according to Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News. “He’d say, ‘I used to foul people out with charges,’ “ White said. “That’s where it all kind of started from.”
  • After losing three out of four games last week, the Rockets had an emotional postgame airing of grievances on January 15, according to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon“Everybody’s their own person and feels some type of way about whatever’s going on, individually and as a unit,” said Rockets star James Harden. “So you speak about it and get it off your chest.” The Rockets would go on to lose their next game, a 124-115 defeat to the Lakers.

Tim Hardaway Jr. Undergoes Surgery On Leg

Tim Hardaway Jr. underwent surgery on his left tibia today, according to a Mavericks team press release. He had been dealing with a stress injury and he’s expected to resume basketball activities before the start of training camp.

Hardaway Jr. was sent to Dallas as part of the Kristaps Porzingis deal at this year’s trade deadline. He’s set to make approximately $20MM next season, which is currently the highest figure for any player on the Mavs. Dallas has under $46MM in guaranteed salary on the books for the 2019/20 campaign against a projected $109MM salary cap (though with cap holds and Dwight Powell‘s player option, available space could be capped around $30MM).

The franchise will look to use its cap space to put talent around Porzingis and rookie phenomenon Luka Doncic this summer. Hardaway, who has two seasons left on his deal, including a player option of $18.76MM for 2020/21, appears likely to remain with the team regardless of any additions due to his rehabilitation timeline and cumbersome contract.

Tim Hardaway Jr. Played Entire Season With Leg Injury

The extent of Mavericks‘ guard Tim Hardaway Jr.‘s stress reaction in his left tibia that will result in surgery sometime this summer appears to be a bit more involved than previously indicated, relays Gerry Fraley of The Dallas Morning News.

Per Fraley, Hardaway acknowledged earlier today that he actually played the entire 2018/19 campaign with a “sub-par” left leg. An earlier report on Hardaway’s injury in the wake of the Mavericks’ decision to shut the 27-year-old down for the team’s final 11 games indicated that he would no longer play the rest of this season, but did not provide any details on what caused the injury or when the injury occurred.

“I was playing through an injury basically the entire season,” said Hardaway. “I think that shows a lot about my character and how much I care for the guys in that locker room.”

Hardaway, who is expected to be fully recovered and ready to go by the beginning of training camp later this year, averaged a career-high 18.1 PPG this season, but was held to an eFG% of .474, tied for the lowest of his career. Both his assist and rebound numbers were also down from last season.

For Mavericks fans excited about what the future may bring with both Kristaps Porzingis and Luka Doncic now in the fold, the fact that Hardaway wasn’t at full strength this season may be even more reason for optimism.

Injury Updates: Anderson, J. Jackson, Ntilikina, THJ

Considering they haven’t seen any game action since January 30 and February 13 respectively, Grizzlies regulars Kyle Anderson and Jaren Jackson Jr. weren’t considered great bets to return to the court before the end of the regular season. Head coach J.B. Bickerstaff confirmed as much today, telling reporters – including Mark Giannotto of The Memphis Commercial Appeal (Twitter link) – that both players are done for the season.

While a shoulder injury cut Anderson’s season short and a quad issue prevented Jackson from getting back on the court, both players figure to be building blocks for the Grizzlies as the team goes through a retooling period. Anderson still has three more years left on the contract he signed with the team last summer, while Jackson has three years remaining on his rookie deal.

Here are a few more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • After re-aggravating a groin injury last weekend, Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina will be shut down for the rest of the season, the club announced today (via Twitter). It was a bit of a lost year for Ntilikina, who was limited to just 43 games due to injuries and an inconsistent role, and didn’t take a real step forward after an up-and-down rookie season. His place in the Knicks’ long-term future is unclear.
  • Mavericks wing Tim Hardaway Jr., who has already been ruled out for the season, will likely undergo surgery to insert a rod in his leg and repair his stress fracture, owner Mark Cuban said this week (Twitter link via Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com). Assuming he goes ahead with that procedure, Hardaway is expected to be recovered well before training camp begins in 2019/20.
  • In case you missed it, we passed along health updates on Dwight Howard, Dante Exum, and Luc Mbah a Moute on Thursday.

Tim Hardaway Jr. To Miss Rest Of Season

Tim Hardaway Jr.‘s first season with the Mavericks will come to an early end, as the team has shut down the veteran wing after he suffered a stress reaction in his left tibia, per Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News.

Hardaway, 27, arrived in Dallas last month along with Kristaps Porzingis, Courtney Lee, and Trey Burke as part of a blockbuster trade with the Knicks. In 19 games (29.4 MPG) for his new team, he averaged 15.5 PPG on .404/.321/.767 shooting.

There are still two more years on Hardaway’s contract after this season, including a 2020/21 player option, so he’s expected to remain a part of the Mavs’ roster and rotation going forward. Since the former Knick previously battled a stress injury in his left leg during the 2017/18 season, he and the team figure to be extra cautious with his latest ailment. However, there’s no indication that he won’t be fully healthy and ready to go for the 2019/20 season.

With Hardaway on the shelf, Justin Jackson and Ryan Broekhoff look like prime candidates to see their roles increase down the stretch. Jackson moved into Dallas’ starting lineup for the first time on Thursday, while Broekhoff logged 17 minutes after playing a total of just six minutes in the team’s previous eight games.

Knicks Notes: Hardaway, Ntilikina, Smith

Tim Hardaway Sr. blames Kristaps Porzingis desire to go elsewhere for his son’s trade to Dallas, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Tim Hardaway Jr. was sent to Dallas along with Porzingis at the end of January in a deal designed to open up cap room for this summer. He had just signed a four-year, $71MM deal with the Knicks prior to last season and was hoping to be part of the turnaround in New York.

“He was disappointed,’’ Hardaway Sr. said. “He wanted to win there. He wanted to get them in the playoffs (once Porzingis got back) and see where they could go. He wanted the playoffs and have the fans cheering them in the playoffs, but there was the injury. He wasn’t disappointed about moving as much as he was disappointed he couldn’t finish what he was trying to start.’’

Hardaway Sr. had worked with Knicks coach David Fizdale in Miami and was happy that his son got a chance to play for him. He said the Mavericks made several inquiries about a deal before the opportunity with Porzingis arose.

“It’s business,’’ Hardaway Sr. said. “It’s my understanding Porzingis wanted to leave and when Dallas put the deal together, they wanted Tim in the deal. They didn’t want other guys. They wanted Tim a while back. It wouldn’t get approved if Tim wasn’t in the deal.”

There’s more from New York:

  • Frank Ntilikina‘s long-awaited return from a groin injury will likely happen Friday, Berman tweets. Fizdale told reporters before tonight’s game that he wants the second-year guard to get one more practice with the G League affiliate in Westchester before putting him in a game. Tonight will mark the 24th straight game he has missed since getting hurt in January.
  • The final three weeks of the season may determine Ntilikina’s future with the franchise, according to Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. Since Ntilikina was sidelined, the Knicks traded for Dennis Smith Jr. and have taken a long look at Emmanuel Mudiay. New York received offers for Ntilikina before the February deadline, Bondy adds, and a source says GM Scott Perry reached out to a member of the Hawks’ front office to see if they were interested. Atlanta remained committed to Trae Young as its point guard, so the talks didn’t go any further.
  • Smith will miss his fourth straight game tonight with a bad back, relays Ian Begley of ESPN (Twitter link). Fizdale said Smith may be re-evaluated next week.

Details On How Porzingis Trade Talks Played Out

In his latest newsletter for The New York Times, Marc Stein takes a deep dive into the trade that sent Kristaps Porzingis from New York to Dallas, sharing several interesting new details on the negotiations leading up to the deal itself.

Here’s a round-up of the highlights from Stein:

  • The Knicks spent a good portion of January canvassing the NBA for possible Porzingis trades, according to Stein, who hears the team was rebuffed when it inquired on potential targets like Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell and Kings guard De’Aaron Fox. After devoting much of the month to possible trade scenarios, the Knicks were convinced that no team besides Dallas would take on the Tim Hardaway Jr. and Courtney Lee contracts while also offering a player like Dennis Smith Jr. along with multiple first-round picks, says Stein.
  • New York’s management group has known for years that the Mavericks were very interested in Porzingis, with one Mavs official joking to Stein that Dallas had approached the Knicks “about a hundred times” before they finally showed a willingness to move the All-Star big man. Conversely, the Knicks had been expressing interest in Smith all season, per Stein.
  • The Knicks and Mavericks had been discussing the framework of a possible Wesley Matthews/Hardaway deal for weeks, and began expanding those talks to include Porzingis on January 28, Stein writes. The two teams then worked in person toward finalizing the framework of a deal last Wednesday when the Mavs played the Knicks in New York. However, the Knicks wanted to wait until after they met with the Porzingis brothers on Thursday to make any decisions.
  • Following that Thursday meeting between Knicks management and the Porzingis brothers, Janis Porzingis (Kristaps’ agent) provided the club with a four-team list of preferred destinations, a source tells Stein. The Nets and Clippers were on that list, but the Mavericks weren’t. The Knicks opted to move quickly on the Mavs deal in part due to concern that Porzingis’ camp would leak that list and threaten to only sign long-term with those clubs, Stein adds.
  • The Knicks were informed that Porzingis was ready to leave the team and continue his injury rehab in Spain if he remained on the roster through the trade deadline, Stein hears.
  • Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, with an interesting quote to Stein: “It was my mistake to not keep Dirk [Nowitzki] and Steve [Nash] together longer. I won’t make the same mistake with Luka [Doncic] and KP.”
  • For what it’s worth, Stein reports that the threat of Kevin Durant leaving for the Knicks has “never felt more real” to the Warriors than it does now that New York has cleared two maximum-salary slots for the summer.

Knicks Trade Kristaps Porzingis To Mavericks

The Knicks have traded Kristaps Porzingis, Courtney Lee, Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. to the Mavericks for Dennis Smith Jr., DeAndre Jordan, Wesley Matthews and two first-round picks, both teams announced in press releases Thursday.

News of this deal comes just shortly after word broke that Porzingis had met with Knicks management to express frustration with the direction of the organization, leaving the team with the impression that he wanted to be moved. While Porzingis’ preference to be dealt may have jump-started these talks, it didn’t take the Knicks long to find a potential deal they liked, suggesting that they may not have been fully invested in the relationship either.

“As is standard for this time of year, we were exploring various options on potential trades,” Knicks general manager Scott Perry said in a statement. “Considering the uncertainty regarding Kristaps’ free agent status and his request today to be traded, we made a trade that we are confident improves the franchise.”

From the Knicks’ perspective, moving on from Porzingis by attaching two unwanted multi-year contracts to him creates some tantalizing free agent possibilities for the franchise. By replacing Porzingis’ cap hold ($17.09MM), Hardaway’s salary ($18.15MM), and Lee’s salary ($12.76MM) with Smith’s modest $4.46MM salary on the 2019/20 books, the Knicks will reduce their commitments by approximately $43.5MM, which should open up enough cap room for two maximum-salary free agents.

The Knicks’ only players with guaranteed contracts for 2019/20 are Smith, Frank Ntilikina, Kevin Knox, and Mitchell Robinson. Armed with those youngsters and a likely top-five pick, New York will enter free agency with the ability to potentially land two free agents from a group that includes Kevin Durant, Kemba Walker, Kyrie Irving, and others.

Besides creating substantial cap flexibility, the Knicks will acquire Smith, a second-year guard who wasn’t happy with his role in Dallas. The ninth overall pick in the 2017 draft, DSJ saw his responsibilities dialed back due to Luka Doncic‘s emergence this season. Smith has still built upon some of last year’s numbers, averaging 12.9 PPG, 4.3 APG, and 3.0 RPG with a .440/.344/.695 shooting line. He now appears poised to take over point guard duties in New York, a year after the team passed on him to draft Ntilikina.

New York also acquired a 2021 unprotected first-round pick and 2023 protected first-round pick (1-10) in the trade agreement, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Ian Begley reported.

“We feel like we did the right thing,” Knicks president Steve Mills said, according to Begley. “When you try to think about how you want to build your team for the long term, you don’t want to commit a max (contract) to a player who clearly says to you he doesn’t want to be here.”

Jordan and Matthews, who are on pricey expiring deals, likely don’t have a future in New York. Rival executives expect the Knicks to explore the trade market over the next week for potential deals involving those veterans, according to Jake Fischer of SI.com (Twitter link). Both Fischer and ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link) suggest that Jordan and Matthews will be intriguing buyout candidates if they’re not flipped by the Knicks.

Perry emphasized in a conference call Thursday that both Jordan and Matthews could have a positive impact on their young players for the remainder of the season, as relayed by Begley. This, of course, is provided they aren’t traded or bought out from their current deals. This statement drew a questioning response on social media from Knicks center Enes Kanter, another candidate to be traded by the deadline.

Meanwhile, the deal represents a huge swing for the Mavericks, who will pair Porzingis with Doncic with an eye toward keeping both players in Dallas for years to come. By taking on the multiyear contracts for Hardaway and Lee in exchange for Jordan and Matthews, Dallas will almost certainly give up its chance to create cap room in 2019, but will be on track to open up significant space in 2020, while Doncic is still on his rookie contract. Porzingis posted a clip of him shaking hands with Doncic after the trade became official, clearly excited for his new partnership in Dallas.

An All-Star a year ago, Porzingis averaged 22.7 PPG, 6.6 RPG, and 2.4 BPG with a .439/.395/.793 shooting line in 48 games in 2017/18, displaying franchise-player potential. However, a torn ACL ended his season early and has sidelined him for the entire 2018/19 campaign so far. He’ll be a restricted free agent this summer, at which point he could sign his one-year qualifying offer, sign an offer sheet with another team, or negotiate a new deal directly with the Mavs.

[RELATED: Porzingis plans to tell Mavs he’ll sign qualifying offer?]

Dallas also created a $12.9MM trade exception in the agreement, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

Additionally, Marks notes (via Twitter) that the two teams will have to account for Hardaway’s 15% trade bonus, which is currently worth $3.75MM. Assuming THJ doesn’t waive it, his cap hits will increase by $1.875MM annually for this season and next, and the Knicks will have to pay the bonus money.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Knicks Make Tim Hardaway, Courtney Lee Available

In an unsurprising development, the Knicks have made Tim Hardaway Jr. and Courtney Lee available via trade in advance of the February 7 deadline, three sources tell Marc Stein of The New York Times. The decision is largely financially motivated, Stein adds.

We’ve assumed for months that Hardaway and Lee would be on the trade block this season, since the’re both owed pricey salaries for 2019/20 and the Knicks would like to be players this summer for a group of free agents that includes Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Kemba Walker. A report earlier this week from Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic indicated that rival teams have inquired on Hardaway and Lee.

From the Knicks’ perspective, an ideal trade involving Hardaway or Lee would see New York acquire an expiring contract without having to attach an asset to either veteran to sweeten the deal. Stein suggests it’s unclear whether the Knicks will be able to find a suitable trade without attaching an additional asset — Vokunov said in his report that the front office has been averse to adding a sweetener.

Here are a few more Knicks-related notes and rumors:

  • Howard Beck of Bleacher Report says he gets the impression the Knicks would be willing to trade “just about everyone not named Kristaps (Porzingis) or Kevin (Knox)” if it helps clear the team’s books for this summer (Twitter link).
  • After Enes Kanter told the Knicks to play him or “get me out of here,” head coach David Fizdale responded to his veteran center and downplayed the idea that the situation will cause any distractions for the team. Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic has the full quotes from Fizdale.
  • Vorkunov also relays the latest comments from Kanter, who took exception with being grouped in with veterans like Courtney Lee and Lance Thomas when Fizdale informed those players – and Trey Burke – that their minutes would be cut. “I mean, Courtney and Lance, they’re 33, 34, whatever years old. I’m 26 years old. It’s not like I am old. You know what I mean?” Kanter said. “They treat me like I’m old. I’m not old. I’m 26 years old.” In Marc Stein’s report (linked above), he wrote that Kanter is expected to seek a buyout if he’s not moved by the trade deadline.
  • Tim Hardaway didn’t seem to love being thrown under the bus by Allonzo Trier in a Twitter direct message Trier sent to a fan. Responding to criticism from the fan for a defensive miscue vs. Houston, Trier retorted that Hardaway was supposed to have switched onto his man. “Oh, so he blaming other people, basically?” Hardaway said, per Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. “At the end of the day I think it all falls down on the team. Team defense, you learn from it.” Trier apologized for the message today after it leaked.

Knicks Rumors: Hardaway, Lee, Kanter

Rival teams have inquired about Tim Hardaway Jr. and Courtney Lee, according to Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic, who suggests that the Knicks would be open to moving either player and creating additional 2019 cap flexibility — even if losing Hardaway would make the lottery-bound team even less competitive on a nightly basis.

However, league sources tell Vorkunov that the Knicks “have been adamant” about not attaching any sweeteners to Hardaway or Lee in a deal. Both players are on pricey multiyear contracts and aren’t exactly positive assets right now, so any team willing to trade expiring salary for either Hardaway or Lee would likely be seeking a draft pick or a young player from New York. Apparently, as Vorkunov details, the Knicks are averse to that idea, as they were when they tried to shop Joakim Noah last year.

In contrast to past management groups, the Knicks’ current front office has exhibited a commendable commitment to hanging onto future draft picks. And while that stance may be in the club’s best long-term interests, it may reduce the likelihood of Hardaway or Lee being dealt by February 7. Perhaps, as Vorkunov writes, a contending team in need of a veteran scorer or shooter will relent by the deadline and make a deal with the Knicks without asking for an extra asset, but that’s certainly no lock.

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • Vorkunov’s piece goes more in-depth on which Knicks players are the most and least likely to be moved by next month’s deadline, and is worth checking out in full. He identifies Enes Kanter as the player most likely to be with a new team after February 7, though a number of other veterans are also trade candidates.
  • Speaking of Kanter, he expressed some disappointment and frustration on Monday after being informed by head coach David Fizdale that he’d likely be out of the rotation going forward, per Marc Berman of The New York Post. Of course, Kanter’s removal from the rotation lasted about a quarter and a half — he entered Monday’s game in the second quarter after Luke Kornet went down with an ankle sprain, and figures to continue seeing regular minutes if Kornet has to miss time.
  • Still, Kanter sounds like someone who might be ready to move on from the Knicks if his minutes are cut back again, as Berman relays: “I love it here, but in the end, I want to play basketball. I miss playing basketball, man. And I would let [Knicks GM] Scott [Perry] and my agent handle that stuff. We had the conversation [Sunday], and they were kind of like, shutting me down. So I’m like, I want to play basketball. I love it here. I love New York. I love the fans, but in the end, I want to play basketball.”
  • The Knicks’ commitment to a youth movement may not be good news for Kanter, but it should benefit Frank Ntilikina, writes George Willis of The New York Post.