The Knicks drafted Tim Hardaway Jr. back in the first round in 2013. He was fine for a pick in the 20s as a single-minded wing scorer, with mixed results in his efficiency. Ultimately replaceable. So the Knicks used him in a draft-night trade in 2015 to get Jerian Grant, a point guard. A year later, the Knicks threw Grant into the pot for the Derrick Rose trade.
Hardaway’s a restricted free agent now, and New York decided to try to bring him back. That’s a little weird — you trade a player for low return (which you flip for a rental) and then chase the original player in free agency two years on? OK — but hey, circumstances change.
For Tim Hardaway Jr.
Hardaway was fine for a late first-round pick, and he’s fine for a supplemental wing scorer — a poor man’s Jamal Crawford, if you will. But that is a huge contract, even at the current modern salary levels. Hardaway’s average salary is something like 18 percent of the salary cap. You can’t be paying a guy who should be your fifth or sixth best player 18 percent of the cap! Math dictates that you don’t do that!
Once the Hawks refuse to match the offer sheet — I can’t imagine a world in which they match — this will become the second worst contract in the NBA … behind the deal the Knicks gave Joakim Noah last summer! At least Hardaway’s limbs are in working order (as far as we know).
What is Knicks may never die, but rises again harder and stronger.
The Spurs had only signed Patty Mills until Thursday. They added Rudy Gay on a small two-year deal. This is a good move … presuming Gay recovered for his injury well. He and Tony Parker can be rehab buddies!
The Celtics had to rescind Kelly Olynyk’s qualifying offer to get Gordon Hayward. This made Olynyk an unrestricted free agent. This made the Heat excited. Miami grabbed the Canadian on a four-year, $50 million deal. The Heat also reached a big ol’ deal with James Johnson. Dumping Josh McRoberts’ salary to the Mavericks is part of the plan.
Speaking of Dallas, Dirk Nowitzki took yet another pay cut to help Mark Cuban save money. His two-year deal should wrap up his career with a single franchise.
Jayson Tatum’s ankles have officially been laid to rest for the first time in his NBA career.
Tyler Tynes reports on a lawsuit filed by a former Hawks security officer alleging that black and white entertainers have been systematically treated differently at Philips Arena. The suit alleges white entertainers are regularly granted exceptions from security measures while black entertainers are not.
The Kings continue their quest to make Basketball Twitter swoon — sign Vince Carter to a one-year deal.
Speaking of former Grizzlies, the franchise’s front office wrote a beautiful letter about Zach Randolph in which they announced Memphis would retire his jersey.
Nathaniel Friedman on the ripple effect caused by the Warriors’ dominance.
The Wizards and Nets are getting rather petty over Otto Porter’s offer sheet. Washington will end up matching, but now his contract is going to be way messier than it needed to be. Just pay your very good restricted free agents, people!
The most exciting news of the day? Lob City is back, and it doesn’t need Chris Paul. The Clippers won the Milos Teodosic sweepstakes, bringing the Serbian highlight machine over on a two-year deal. He’s instantly the flashiest passer in the NBA and maybe one of the five best. The downside: You and I both know he’s going to come off the bench behind Austin Rivers.
Plot twist for the Clippers: Patrick Beverley (who played in Europe for a few years) says he’s used “Milos Teodosic” as a hotel alias. Can’t do that anymore!
If anyone deserves a good birthday cake, it’s Pau Gasol. This is not a good birthday cake.
And finally: hello, weird as pekle Latvian Visa commercial starring Kristaps Porzingis. Hello.