The New York Knicks outbid the market and any reasonable expectations by inking Atlanta Hawks restricted free agent guard Tim Hardaway Jr. to a four-year, $71 million offer sheet on Thursday night. The Hawks will not be following New York's lead.
Atlanta will declineits right to match the Knicks' offer and allow Hardaway Jr. to re-sign with his former team, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
The Knicks traded the 25-year-old wing to Atlanta prior to the 2015 draft for the rights to draft point guard Jerian Grant. As the beleaguered franchise moves in cyclical fashion(even in the post-Phil Jackson era), Grant was traded to Chicago forDerrick Rose, who was then renouncedto provide the cap space to hand a rotation-level wing more than $17 million average annual salary.
Hardaway Jr, was a key member of the Hawks' playoff team last season, averaging 14.5 points per game after steadily improving in "Hawks University." Still, the defensive concerns are real and he still falls short of an efficient starting wing at the NBA level, making the Knicks' gamble a curious one and a move the rebuilding Hawks simply would not match under new general manager and president of basketball operations Travis Schlenk.