Knicks could use strategic move to keep Josh Hart salary hit low

NBA: Playoffs-New York Knicks at Cleveland Cavaliers, josh hart
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The New York Knicks are devising numerous strategies to free up salary space this off-season. The aim is to sign free agents and potentially introduce a superstar to join forces with Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle.

Possible Trade Packages for Superstar Acquisition

The potential superstar acquisition could involve either Randle or RJ Barrett as part of a larger trade package. This would help in offloading salary to accommodate a proven player on the roster. Recently, the Knicks have been linked with Paul George of the Los Angeles Clippers. George, although available, could prove to be an expensive acquisition.

Strategy for Retaining Josh Hart

In the interim, the Knicks are exploring ways to save money, particularly concerning Josh Hart. They are pursuing a clever strategy with the player.

The team and Hart have mutually agreed to push his player option deadline to this upcoming Thursday. This will provide more time to negotiate an extension. Hart’s player option would earn him $12.9 million for the upcoming season.

While Hart might be inclined to decline it to secure a larger payday in the open market, the Knicks could use the option to retain him and extend on a more lucrative deal in the future, thus saving money in the upcoming season.

Hart’s Impact and Potential Future Role

Given Hart’s significant impact last season after his acquisition from the Portland Trailblazers, it’s evident the club is keen to keep him. Hart averaged 10.2 points, 7.0 rebounds, and showcased impressive shooting statistics during the regular season after his transfer.

Hart was a vibrant presence in the postseason as well, contributing stellar defense and clutch shots while other team members struggled to some extent. The exceptions being Jalen Brunson and RJ Barrett.

Should Hart accept the option, extending beyond the 2023–24 season, it would benefit not only the Knicks but also provide him with a long-term base during his career’s prime. This would further allow the Knicks to utilize their $12.4 million non-taxpayer exception, essentially covering Hart’s deal.

Additional Knicks’ Strategies and Outlook

Beyond Hart, the Knicks may turn to other free agents such as Donte DiVincenzo from the Golden State Warriors. DiVincenzo’s outstanding recent season and connections to the front office make him an attractive prospect. Introducing a few high-quality role players and potentially trading for someone like George could significantly enhance the team’s scoring capability and defense.

With several crucial decisions awaiting next off-season, such as extending Immanuel Quickley or trading him to a team in need of a starting point guard, the Knicks’ front office is in for busy times.

Fortunately, they have the main body of their roster in place. However, any major trades could likely involve Barrett, whose development has been slower than expected and who could be a solid bargaining chip.

In summary, the Knicks are presented with a window of opportunity to win a championship over the next few seasons. Therefore, making significant moves now could be the step toward immediate contention.

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