The Knicks have invested $71 million dollars this offseason on Tim Hardaway Jr. (and $9 million on Ron Baker). The only positive response Knicks fans can possibly come up with is “At least they are not signing guys in their 30’s.”
After the Knicks traded Hardaway for Jerian Grant in 2015, Hardaway was stashed away into the D-League. He managed to work with the Hawks’ training staff and reinvent himself into a solid rotation player.
Last season Hardaway averaged 14.5 points, 2 assists, and shot 36% from 3 point range. He is definitely improving, but with his continued poor defense and one dimensional scoring ability, was he really worth such a steep price? According to the Zach Lowe, the Hawks didn’t think so.
According to @ZachLowe_NBA, the Hawks were willing to offer Hardaway a four-year deal in the $48 million range, league sources said.
— Swiss Cheese D (@NBASwissCheeseD) July 15, 2017
Let’s go over other deals that happened this offseason:
Jonathan Simmons 3 years $20 million with the Magic
Simmons averaged 6 points last season, so his numbers will obviously not jump out at you, but this guy is already one of the better perimeter defenders in the league. His defense on Harden in the playoffs might have saved the Spurs, while Kawhi was out.
The Knicks are so consistently horrible at defense to the point that they inspired the name of my blog, so missing out on Simmons on a crazy bargain was a typical Knicks move.
Michael Carter-Williams 1 Year $2.7 Million with the Hornets
Michael Carter-Williams is a former rookie of the year and only 25 years old. Like rookie Frank Ntilikina, MCW has a Shaun Livingston (pre-injury) type body. With his long frame he has the ability to disrupt passes and bully smaller defenders. He can also run the floor better than anyone else currently on the Knicks roster (not saying much, I know).
His stock is at an all-time low, shooting barely over 40% from the floor for his career. Still, I promise you that he is better than Ron Baker.
Shelvin Mack 2 years $12 Million with the Magic
Shelvin Mack is a backup point guard, and I don’t think that will change. Still, he has proven that he can successfully dribble the ball up the court and run an offense properly with minimal turnovers. As of July 15th 2017, I truly do not believe that there is another point guard on the Knicks that has the same skill set as Shelvin freaking Mack.
Darren Collison 2 years $20 Million with Pacers
Everything I said about Shelvin Mack, except Collison is better and more athletic. Did I mention that the Knicks don’t have a point guard?
Side note: I know that Frank Ntilikina is listed as a point guard. I’ve seen video of him and I don’t think he has an NBA handle… yet. He’s not even 19 years old yet, so hopefully the Knicks can keep him long enough to inevitably trade him for Jerian Grant.
All kidding aside I think he is going to be a great defender and I support the pick. He is just not a NBA point guard yet.
Justin Holiday 2 years $9 Million with the Bulls
Holiday was a great spark off the bench last season for the Knicks, and one of the few bright spots. He will be missed.
It seems that Holiday literally signed the same contract as Ron Baker. Can we even say that $71 million man Tim Hardaway is definitively better than Holiday? Holiday shot 35.5% last season from three and Hardaway shot 35.7% last season from three. Holiday’s defense has also proven to be much more consistent.
If you want to argue Hardaway’s upside is better and blah blah blah, go ahead, but the opportunity cost between both players is a tough pill to swallow.
Langston Galloway 3 years $21 Million with the Pistons
Hey! Remember this guy?
Tyreke Evans 1 year $3.3 Million with the Grizzlies
Tyreke’s stats have diminished almost every season since he was the rookie of the year. Still, he is an average defender who has the ability to facilitate an offense. The Knicks could have outbid the Grizzlies for much needed play-making.
If there was no salary cap like baseball, then deals like Hardaway and Joakim Noah would not be as much of a death sentence. However, the NBA is not the right place for drunken owners who impatiently gamble on unproven players.
At only 25 years old, it seems Hardaway’s better days are still ahead of him. You don’t pay a player for what they have done in the past, but rather what you expect from them in the future. Only time will tell, but this seems like another classic Isiah Thomas type move.