New York Knicks: Tim Hardaway Jr. calls his trade ‘mind-blowing’

New York Knicks Tim Hardaway Jr. (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
New York Knicks Tim Hardaway Jr. (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Tim Hardaway Jr., now with the Dallas Mavericks, reacted to his trade from the New York Knicks.

Consuming the Anthony Davis drama in January, the New York Knicks shook up their roster and the NBA with the Kristaps Porzingis trade. It preceded the Feb. 7 trade deadline, and the Knicks set themselves up for an interesting summer as a result.

Porzingis was hardly the only player involved. Among others, Tim Hardaway Jr. went to the Dallas Mavericks — the second time the organization traded him in four years.

Reacting to this transaction as the Mavericks play in Brooklyn, Hardaway told the New York Daily News it was “mind-blowing” how his two Knicks stints ended the same, and how there was a failed opportunity for what the team had in place:

"“I let them know we definitely had something good going here my first time back with KP and myself in the lineup at the same time. Then I got injured, then he got injured. And then it kind of went downhill from there,” Hardaway said Monday after his Mavericks were pummeled by the Nets, 127-88. “I let them know what we had was special and I really think they didn’t give us an opportunity to have KP. That’s what I told them. But it is what it is. We move forward.”"

Hardaway was on a promising track with a healthy Porzingis in 2017-18, at 11-10 before the former’s seven-week injury. Then came the 7-foot-3 Latvian’s torn ACL and subsequent final game in a Knicks uniform, and they never had a chance to follow up on less than a half-season’s worth of time together.

However, it goes beyond not letting making that work.

The Knicks surprised with a four-year, $71 million contract for Hardaway, a restricted free agent, in 2017. It was off his best and most efficient NBA season at that point, but the numbers dipped upon return to the Big Apple.

Shooting just 41.2 percent and 31.7 percent on three-pointers in 2017-18, the Michigan man opened 2018-19 scoring over 20 points per game. That’s until Thanksgiving, and plantar fasciitis, arrived. It led him to 38.8 percent shooting and 34.7 percent on three-pointers, on a career-high 15.8 shots per game.

The performance did not match the contract, which could run through 2020-21 on a player option. So, with the Knicks eyeing cap space for July’s free agency, he was expendable. Courtney Lee suffered a similar fate, although the Knicks rarely used him after a two-month neck injury.

Without Hardaway and Lee’s guaranteed money, the New York Knicks have the space to sign two max free agents. It’s obviously no guarantee anything will happen, but having the open money puts them in the mix for Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving and others.

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As for Hardaway, he can establish himself in Dallas, next to Porzingis, Luka Doncic and whoever else joins them. Barring another trade, he’s locked there through at least 2020.