Tuesday 21st November 2017,
The Hoop Doctors

Knicks’ Free-Agency Pitch to Tim Hardaway Jr: You Need to ‘Improve a Lot,” But Here’s $71 Million

Knicks’ Free-Agency Pitch to Tim Hardaway Jr: You Need to ‘Improve a Lot,” But Here’s $71 Million

Hardaway

Tim Hardaway Jr.’s introductory press conference with the New York Knicks was a rousing success on Monday—assuming, of course, you’re only in this for the jokes.

There’s been much made about Hardaway’s four-year, $71 million deal with the team that drafted him. Though he finished the 2016-17 season strong, he is not a $71 million player. And while he developed nicely with the Atlanta Hawks, there’s no guarantee the Knicks have the patience or acumen to develop him into a $71 million player.

Best of all, not only do they know this, they basically copped to it during their pitch to him in free agency.

Per Steve Popper of the Record: 

Here’s KnickerBlogger’s Kevin McElroy with an all-too-accurate, and thus troubling, translation:

This is what’s so troubling about Hardaway’s arrival. It doesn’t have anything to do with him, or whether you think he’s worth investing in over, say, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope or Allen Crabbe.

This is about the Knicks, and their self-sabotaging inability to change. They overpaid a player they didn’t have to overpay. It doesn’t matter that Hardaway was a restricted free agent. That wasn’t the market for him. Throwing him a four-year, $52 million offer sheet may have been enough to get him out of Atlanta. And if it wasn’t, oh well, you move on. Hardaway, for all his improvement, isn’t a player you need to desperately acquire.

And to those who continue pointing out contracts given to Evan Fournier, Kent Bazemore, Crabbe, etc.: This isn’t 2016.

At least last year teams had the excuse of failed foresight. No one quite understood how much the salary cap would level off, or how bad some of these deals would look in one year. The Knicks overpaid, extravagantly, amid the bursting bubble. There is no excuse for that.

Good for Hardaway, obviously. He got paid. He’s a good player. Maybe he gets better. But the Knicks screwed up by offering him that much, proving yet again any steps in the right direction are actually temporary facades—a respite from their indelible propensity for willingly making the wrong decisions.

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