Josh Hart was out for the New York Knicks’ preseason opener after he signed a four-year extension in the offseason. Rumors began to swirl about whether his “nicked up” injury was more serious than Tom Thibodeau was letting on, but he returned to the court in New York’s second exhibition game, although only for eight minutes.
Hart and four other key Knicks didn’t make the trip to Boston for the third preseason game, and he played 19 minutes the following night in the finale.
The 28-year-old is entering his seventh season in the league, and he was asked how different his maintenance has been after competing for Team USA at the 2023 FIBA World Cup.
Hart said he’s used to having the whole summer to himself and that his first playoff appearance changed things because, as he added, “April 12 is when I usually go on vacation.” An extra month was tacked onto his season, and between that and the World Cup, he commented on not knowing how LeBron James could do it between his NBA Finals appearances and playing in the Olympics.
Knicks’ Josh Hart says he was “tapped out” after busy offseason
Will Josh Hart’s busy offseason affect how he starts the season? Well, according to what he said, no. “Now it’s not about maintenance; now it’s just time to go.”
Hart always gives 110 percent. When he arrived in New York after the February trade deadline, he jumped right into the rotation and made a positive impact. The Knicks won nine straight games once Hart made his debut before coming up short against the lowly Hornets.
RJ Barrett, who represented Canada at the World Cup, played more minutes in preseason than Jalen Brunson, the Knicks’ other Team USA player, and Hart. As Julius Randle put it, he and Brunson will be back to their typical 35 minutes per night routine once the regular season starts.
Hart averaged 30 minutes in the 25 games he played to close out the Knicks’ 2022-23 regular season, and given he’s expected to be Randle’s primary backup, he’ll continue to play heavy minutes.
In four short days, Josh Hart and the Knicks will play the first of 82 regular season games, so like he said, it’s time to go.