The New York Knicks stand on the brink of a significant decision regarding their dynamic wing player, Josh Hart, who joined the team at the trade deadline last season.
Hart: An Essential Catalyst
Hart proved to be a crucial spark plug in the Knicks’ postseason run, offering exemplary support on both offense and defense, bolstered by his energetic efforts and rebounding skills.
Following his acquisition from the Portland Trailblazers, Hart played 25 regular-season games with New York, averaging 10.2 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and shooting .586 from the field and .519 from beyond the three-point line. Though his performance over a full season may not replicate these statistics, his boundless energy provides much-needed vitality to the team.
The Critical Retention of Josh Hart
Hart, whom the Knicks need to retain above all others, faces a pivotal $12.9 million decision on Sunday.
Despite having a player option, the 28-year-old is leaning towards free agency, with hopes of extending his tenure with the Knicks instead of seeking other options.
In a recent interview with Bleacher Report, Hart expressed his preference, “We’ll probably decline [the option] and do the free agency [thing]. I love New York. I love the team. I love the coaching staff, the front office that we have, we have young guys, draft picks, all those sorts of things. I mean, obviously, that would be an ideal place for me to just re-sign there and do that.”
Hart’s Impact: An Asset to a Flourishing Team
The Knicks have a burgeoning roster that could greatly benefit from Hart’s vibrant attitude. With Coach Tom Thibodeau knowing he can count on Hart to deliver in crucial moments, this should be an easy choice for New York.
Anticipating that Evan Fournier will be traded—thus offloading nearly $19M in salary—these funds should be directly invested in Hart, a former Villanova standout.
An Integral Part of the Knicks’ Strategy
While Knicks’ President Leon Rose has bigger plans this offseason, attempting to add a third star alongside Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle, overlooking their depth and rotational players would be unwise. Hart, a proven winner, deserves to remain with the team over the next few seasons, and it is highly likely that the Knicks will attempt to secure him before he enters negotiations with other teams.
Given Hart’s chemistry and productive partnership with Brunson, letting go of their star’s best friend on the team would not be a prudent decision.