RED ALERT! RED ALERT! WE HAVE A KNICKS FREE AGENCY MOVE! THIS IS NOT A DRILL!
It took an astounding five days and 23 hours, but, as they say, the Knicks are back!
Introducing the first Woj (and Begley!) bomb of this Knicks offseason:
Story with @Ianbegley: Restricted free agent Tim Hardaway Jr., has signed a 4-year, $71M offer sheet with New York.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 7, 2017
With @wojespn, Knicks' offer sheet to Tim Hardaway Jr. contains a 15% trade kicker, league sources told ESPN. 4th year is a player option.— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) July 7, 2017
A little more contract detail from Shams Charania of The Vertical:
Knicks' offer sheet to Tim Hardaway Jr. is $71M-plus and has final year salary of nearly $19M. Hawks have 2 days to decide whether to match. https://t.co/6kau6yaiVw— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 7, 2017
Tim Hardaway Jr., huh? Sounds familiar! Timmy’s a little different since you last saw him in a Knicks uniform, however—he’s 25 years old now, and he’s coming off of a season where he scored 14.5 points per game, shot a career-high .455 from the field and started 30 games.
Depending on how you feel about Derrick Rose, here’s some concurrent news:
New York will need to renounce the $29.7M FA cap hold of Derrick Rose to sign Tim Hardaway Jr. with room.— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) July 7, 2017
So, if Hardaway’s offer sheet is not matched, the Knicks will effectively be saying sayonara to their starting PG of a year ago.
Therein lies the rub here, though—Atlanta, by virtue of acquiring Hardaway from the Knicks two years ago, own his rights as a restricted free agent, and can match the Knicks’ offer sheet. According to those with knowledge of the situation, they may opt to:
The Hawks have planned on matching Tim Hardaway Jr.'s offer sheets, & here comes test: 4 yrs, $71 million offer sheet signed w/ NY. ESPN 1st— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) July 7, 2017
And they have received the offer sheet. Start the 48-hour clock.
The Hawks already have received the signed offer sheet. They have two days to match it.— Al Iannazzone (@Al_Iannazzone) July 7, 2017
This move will surely be polarizing, although the general pulse among Knicks Twitter right now is “PANIC!!!”
The plus is, Hardaway is a young player coming off inarguably his best season, and Knicks fans that bought his jersey during his first run here can un-retire it. At 25, he fits the “timeline” of a young team that features four key pieces that are age 23 and under (yes, I’m officially counting Damyean Dotson as a “key piece” along with Kristaps Porzingis, Frank Ntilikina and Willy Hernangomez — he’s a superstar until he’s not!). The Knicks will also probably put together a sweet “I’m Coming Home” montage to welcome Tim Jr. back to the Garden.
The minus is, that’s a hell of a lot of money, over a fairly large number of years.
Should be an exciting 48 hours, to say the least! Is this a good move, a bad move, or a quintessentially Knicks move? Discuss and be nice to each other in the comments.
UPDATE 12:00 a.m.:
Hawks were thinking something in the neighborhood of $45M for Hardaway. This latest act of Knickery should make the call easier.— Kevin Arnovitz (@kevinarnovitz) July 7, 2017
The plot thickens...