Back in the New York Groove - On Tim Hardaway's Return to the Knicks

On what to expect from Tim Hardaway's puzzling return to the New York Knicks.

What are we to make of Tim Hardaway Jr.’s return to the Knicks?

If you’ve been on Twitter this offseason, you’ve seen it; a big photo of Tim Hardaway Jr. next to a headline reading something along the lines of “The Biggest Mistakes of the Offseason”. In a summer where the Knicks fired their chief executive almost immediately following a crucial draft, the Knicks couldn’t help but top themselves.

The rumored palace intrigue has been that Steve Mills forked over the reported 4 year $70.9 million deal to win the permanent President of Basketball Ops job from Knicks owner and renowned Eagles opener James Dolan. Which, incidentally, he did.

But it would be foolish to compare this signing one to one with last season’s worst deal,  Joakim Noah’s albatross 4 year $72 million dollar deal. Though Hardaway was arguably the worst deal given out this summer - certainly the most inexplicable – he is not Joakim Noah.

Hardaway is young, athletic and still improving. There is logic to the signing even if the value assessment is completely out of whack. To be clear, this is a bad deal. Even in the best case scenario and THJ outperforms even the most optimistic projections, he has a player option for the 4th year which erodes any leverage the Knicks might have had. But even though this is a bad deal, that doesn’t mean that Hardaway will be a net bad player for the Knicks.

All that said this is a puzzling reunion for the New York Knicks, who walked away from THJ just 2 years into his rookie deal in a trade that netted them the pick that became Jerian Grant. Since his days as an unrepentant gunner for the Wolverines and the Knicks Hardaway has been studying as an underclassman at Hawks University. So what kind of player should the Knicks expect?

The Knicks will be looking to Hardaway for scoring and in that regard at least, they should feel fairly satisfied on their investment. Hardaway can score from all 3 levels and is above average in efficiency from a variety of spots on the court.