Our favorite hoops insider Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN dropped a late-Saturday semi-bomb announcing that the New York Knicks and wing Josh Hart have agreed to delay the decision on the former’s player option, set to expire on midnight of June 24.
According to the sources leaking the information to ESPN, the deadline has been delayed until next Thursday, June 29, one day before the start of free agency on June 30 at 6 p.m. ET.
ESPN Sources: Josh Hart and the Knicks have agreed to extend a midnight ET deadline for his $12.9M player option until Thursday. Hart, a key trade deadline addition to the Knicks, is a priority to retain on a new deal.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 25, 2023
Hart, 28 years old, was a mid-season acquisition by the Knicks after New York traded a package comprised (mainly) of Ryan Arcidiacono, Cam Reddish, and a 2023 first-round pick in exchange for him right before the February deadline.
A former teammate of Knicks’ point guard Jalen Brunson, Hart became an instant contributor off the pine and one of the main reasons for New York’s push toward the postseason and into the second round of the Eastern Conference bracket, where the Knicks ultimately fell to eventual runner-up Miami.
On a per-100 possession basis, Hart put together arguably his best campaign through six seasons in the Association averaging 14.8 points, 11.8 rebounds, 5.8 dimes, and 1.8 steals. Hart has now to decide whether or not he wants to pick up a one-year player option baked into his contract, which would earn him just short of $13 million next year.
In the past, discussing his future in the League and the possibility of setting long-term camp in New York City, Hart already said that he’d like for his to become a long-time partnership.
As explained by Wojnarowski in his report, one potential scenario that both parties could entertain and that would work for everybody would be for Hart to opt in (he’d lose money compared to what the open market would offer him) only for the Knicks to follow that with an extension offer that could amount to 140% of the $12.9 million he’d be getting via player option.
If the Knicks and Hart agree to that deal, New York would enter free agency with some room to make some moves—nothing wild, mind you—including looking into re-signing Derrick Rose at a minimum salary after rejecting his team option.
For now, we wait.