When the New York Knicks reacquired Tim Hardaway Jr. some fans applauded the move, and some questioned it. Now in year two of the deal, Hardaway has been scoring in bunches, which is greatly needed with the loss of Kristaps Porzingis. While Hardaway is a great scorer in today’s NBA, he is not a first, second, and probably third option on a contending team. The Knicks need to think long and hard about keeping Hardaway, or using him to free up space to lure a free agent to the Knicks at the conclusion of this season.
While you can argue that Tim Hardaway is a valuable asset to the Knicks that shouldn’t be traded, if the Knicks are serious about contending next year, his salary can’t be on the books. Tim Hardaway Jr. is averaging 22.2 points per game this year in 33 minutes in exchange for more than 17 million dollars this season. While Tim is a quality player, he is overpaid. Finding a team needing scoring, and having the financial resources to take on Tim Hardaway Jr. should be a priority for the Knicks.
Who could be a trade partner with the Knicks for Tim Hardaway Jr.?
One team linked to Hardaway this summer was the Sacramento Kings. Sacramento has surprised in the early parts of this season, but could use a scoring punch from the wing position. The Kings have multiple expiring contracts that could be easily traded for Tim Hardaway. A trade could look something like this, Zach Randolph and Iman Shumpert for Tim Hardaway Jr. and salary cap relief.
The other option would be to open this trade up, get rid of some players(Courtney Lee and Lance Thomas) and gain more cap space for the offseason. Something like this trade could work.
In this trade you could have the 76ers and the Wizards send future second round picks to the Kings. Yes, I know, Tim Hardaway Jr. is still going to the Kings in this, and yes, Randolph, and Shumpert are still both returning in this. But, this deal clears more cap space for the Knicks, by shedding Courtney Lee and Lance Thomas. All the Knicks get back in this deal is cap space for next year, while contenders are adding to there roster.
If the Knicks feel that Hardaway can be a piece for years to come, and they are fine not shredding 18 million of the books for next season, then they could keep Hardaway and use his offense to help the Knicks get back to the playoffs.
While Tim Hardaway’s contract is not an albatross, like Joakim Noah’s was, it would be beneficial for the Knicks pursuit of free agents in July to send Hardaway elsewhere.