What Should The Knicks Do With Tim Hardaway Jr. Beyond 2018?

As we all know, the New York Knicks are rebuilding. Finally, the organization is young and we’d like to keep it that way. The Knicks have one of the youngest teams in the league, which is something fans have not been able to say in decades. One of the featured stars for the Knicks is Tim Hardaway Jr. The team has adopted a youth agenda, and while Hardaway is just 26 years old, they might be better off finding a suitable trade partner for the primary scorer.

It’s time for Knicks fans to be honest about Hardaway:

A lot of fans will look at this article and immediately think, this guy is crazy for even thinking about this. But, let’s be honest, Tim’s overpaid.  Last season, fans were saying that Tim didn’t live up to the expectations the organization hoped for.  Then, at the beginning of this season, Hardaway was called upon to be the number one scoring option for the Knicks.  With Porzingis’ knee injury, Hardaway was forced into a top-scoring role, one that he has failed to do on a consistent basis since his inception in the NBA.

Hardaway Jr. is currently averaging 21.5 points per game, ranking him 19th in the league.  Top 20 in scoring in the league?  I’d say that’s pretty good.  But, the money side worries me.  Hardaway is earning 35 million dollars over the next two seasons.  Then in 2020, he has an 18 million dollar player option.  That’s a decent chunk of change.

Hardaway started out the current campaign earning his contract until recently when he’s become very streaky.  His consistency is what hurts him the most.  Hardaway will get 20+ points, due to his versatile style of attacking the rim.  For example, he’s been a lot better at getting to the free throw line.  However, when the Knicks needed him the most in recent games, he hasn’t been there.

The one thing that continues to stand out was when the Knicks enjoyed the three-game win streak several weeks ago. Starting with Boston, New Orleans and Memphis. In crunch time, Hardaway near blew each game because of his over-dribbling and overzealous approach.  He was trying to take the game into his own hands when teamwork was the more sustainable option.

So, do the Knicks try to move Hardaway?

The Knicks aren’t going to get someone better in return, so they have to consider their options.  I think the only way you move Hardaway, and his contract, is if you get a player with an expiring contract.  But, the Knicks have to be confident that someone can replace him, which is uncertain.

Looking at it this way, Hardaway is not a number one option guy on an NBA roster.  He’s even a stretch second option.  Hardaway looks to be a good third or fourth option guy on a team.  Think about it.  When the Knicks get Porzingis back and then possibly sign a big name free agent, Hardaway becomes the third option.  That is where Tim may flourish even more.

So for now, the Knicks should let it ride with Hardaway Jr. and the remaining two years he has left on his deal.  Maybe if the Knicks do land a big name free agent, they can reevaluate Hardaway and his contract to try and move him.