In the latest episode of the HoopsHype podcast, SNY’s Ian Begley joined Michael Scotto to discuss the New York Knicks. One of the key topics was Josh Hart’s upcoming $13 million player option.
Scotto tells us not to worry about losing the Knicks newest guard dawg. He believes Josh Hart will turn down his $13 million player option and negotiate a new contract with the Knicks during the upcoming summer. “I don’t see him leaving,” said Scotto. “I see him getting a three or four year deal once he becomes eligible.”
Knicks guard Josh Hart is expected to decline his player option and re-sign with New York this summer. More on a potential Immanuel Quickley extension, RJ Barrett, Thibs, Derrick Rose, Obi Toppin and Evan Fournier with @IanBegley on the @hoopshype podcast. https://t.co/r6H1aLvrZz— Michael Scotto (@MikeAScotto) March 9, 2023
Begley agreed, especially since the Knicks gave up Cam Reddish and a first round pick for Hart, “I don’t think [The Knicks] are making that trade . . . without a degree of confidence that he will re-sign.”
Before joining New York, Hart had played for the Los Angeles Lakers, New Orleans Pelicans, and Portland Trail Blazers. With the Knicks, he has been reunited with close friend Jalen Brunson, with whom he won a National Championship at Villanova, and Julius Randle, with whom he was a Laker. And his defensive temperament makes him a perfect player for coach Tom Thibodeau. As Scotto joked, “If Tom Thibodeau was on Hinge or Bumble and was filling out his love language section, he’d put ‘Josh Hart.’”
Begley cited numerous reasons to believe Hart will stay, including his connections to the team (Brunson, Randle, Leon Rose), wanting stability for his expanding family (twins are on the way), proximity to relatives in the D.C. area, and golf.
This smoke means nil until there’s an official press release, but it’s a nice bit of encouraging news to tide us over until our favorite hoopers hit the floor tonight in Sacramento.
The podcasting pair also discussed the current status of Thibs. “There were a couple times when I thought a change might be coming,” said Begley, but “even the biggest Thibodeau critic has to give him credit for this season because of the way everybody has played and the way things have come together.” According to Begley, as of right now the coach’s job is secure.
Scotto asked about RJ Barrett’s dwindling minutes of late, especially in fourth quarters, and asked if he might come up in off-season trade conversations. “More often than not, it’s just a reflection of Hart playing really well, of Quickley playing well on that given night,” said Begley. He argued that because the Knicks were comfortable with including RJ Barrett in Donovan Mitchell trade discussions, it “signifies that they’re comfortable doing that in the future if it’s a player that they really covet.”
Begley added, “I don’t think any Knick outside of Jalen Brunson would be untouchable in any trade scenario for a star player.”
Scotto asked about Immanuel Quickley, who’s recent play has improved his odds for receiving Sixth-Man-of-the-Year honors. Begley’s read on Quickley’s upcoming extension is, “I don’t think you’re going to get some kind of home team discount for extending Quickley. You’re going to have to come with a strong number to get something done.”
Increasingly, Obi Toppin looks like the odd man out and a trade candidate. Begley hopes the team will send him somewhere he can “flourish.” The Indiana Pacers had discussed a deal with New York for him ahead of the recent trade deadline, but their offer fell short. “The Knicks are under no timeline here to trade Toppin,” said Begley. “He’ll be restricted next summer, so they don’t have to do anything.” He mused that the Knicks might want to keep Toppin in his 10-15 minute reserve role and could offer an extension that’s commensurate with his usage.
They also discussed Derrick Rose and Evan Fournier. Rose is a beloved mentor to the young players on the team, but his future—and Fournier’s—is cloudy.
That’s it, I’m not transcribing the whole podcast for you. No, there’s not a lot of meat on this particular bone, but it’s nice to hear Begley, who is a knowledgable source, give some reassurance about Hart re-signing. Peace ‘til next time.