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Josh Hart intends to test free agency, hopes to stay a Knick

We already knew it, but it was still nice hearing

NBA: Playoffs-Miami Heat at New York Knicks Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The nearly-perfect union of Josh Hart, the city of New York, the Knicks, and head coach Tom Thibodeau has been on full display ever since Hart’s arrival. He’s a player that plays with the kind of tenacity and energy the fans love, he provides the kind of elite rebounding from the wing position that Thibs loves, and he is incredibly close with star point guard Jalen Brunson. So it made a lot of sense when Hart, not too long after arriving in New York, made it clear that he wanted to call New York home for the foreseeable future.

But that was a few months ago, and things can change very quickly in the NBA. We’ve seen plenty of players announce their intent to return, only to see them wearing a different jersey months later. We’ve also seen teams backing out or negotiations falling apart at the last minute.

Hart was still incredibly valuable outside of the Heat series. He played crucial role in the team’s strong regular season finish and first-round win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Knicks front office has been rather quiet — not just on Hart, but on everything — but given the fanbase’s infatuation with him (even if some have turned on him after the Heat series), the positive reviews from teammates and head coach, it’s expected that New York, within reason, will do whatever it takes to bring Hart back.

Hart himself seems to be taking the same stance he did a few months ago. He spoke to Taylor Rooks about his first free agency and how it was a negative experience because it took so long to get a deal done. Hart then went on to say that he doesn’t believe that that’ll be the case this time around. He then gushed over the team and the city, saying, “I love New York. I love the team. I love the coaching staff, the front office that we have. We got young guys, draft picks, all those sorts of things. Obviously, that would be an ideal place for me to just re-sign and do that.”

The former Villanova Wildcat described the situation as “perfect” and reaffirmed his wish, saying, “On the court, off the court, with family being close to home, doing all those kinds of things. Fingers crossed, when free agency starts, a deal will get done hopefully in the first day or two. I would love for that to be home.”

Again, none this is surprising. Things did look a bit bleak during the Heat series, with some fans reconsidering his potential return. However. not once during Hart’s short tenure in New York, has his return been heavily questioned by either the team or Hart himself. A lot can happen between now and the start of the next season, but it looks like the veteran shooting guard wants to be back and is wanted back.