Knicks swingman Josh Hart could command big contract this summer: Report

Josh Hart Knicks
New York Knicks guard Josh Hart reacts after scoring a three-point basket in the first half of Game 4 in an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Sunday, April 23, 2023, at Madison Square Garden in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

There have been few better pairings than the New York Knicks and Josh Hart.

Since the Knicks traded Cam Reddish and a first-round pick for Hart on February 9th, the sixth-year guard/forward has fit like a glove, bringing the toughness, versatility, and defensive-minded game that seem ideal for head coach Tom Thibodeau’s system and the current roster. 

With Hart in the fold, New York finished the regular season 17-9, which was the 5th-best record in the NBA. They had the best offensive rating in the league over that span and the third-best net rating.

Over that span, Josh Hart averaged 10.2 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 1.4 steals on 58.6% shooting in 30 minutes per game. During the playoffs, he has helped to pick up the slack with Julius Rande and Jalen Brunson banged up, averaging 12.1 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 2.8 assists while also guarding Heat star Jimmy Butler for the majority of the game. 

Knicks fans love Josh Hart, and all indications are that Hart loves playing in New York. 

“It’s a perfect situation for me on and off the court,” he said back in February. 

“I want a home. I want to find a home. This is a place where I would love that home to be. On the court, there are so many things that align with my principles as a player, and off the court just being around friends and close to family. This would be an amazing spot. Hopefully they feel the same.”

Josh Hart Knicks
Josh Hart (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)

While it seemed like a given that Hart would decline his $12.96 million player option this off-season and re-sign with the Knicks, there have been some reports recently, including one by Michael Scotto on HoopsHype, that Hart has increased his potential contract numbers with his recent play.

“According to four NBA executives who spoke with HoopsHype, Hart is now projected to be worth $15-18 million annually in free agency this summer.”

With the Knicks also on the hook for Randle’s $28.23 million next year, Brunson’s $26.37 million deal, and RJ Barrett’s new $23.88 million deal, the team might need to be creative to keep Hart at that salary. 

The club has a $15.59 million team option for Derrick Rose that they will likely decline, even though the organization loves what Rose has brought as a veteran leader. The team is also set to pay Evan Fournier $18.86 million next year, but since his contract is expiring the Knicks could look to move him to free up additional space. 

Just last summer the team re-signed Mitchell Robinson to a four-year, $60 million contract, which could work as the framework for a Josh Hart deal. It’s likely a little bit less than he could get on the open market, but it’s a competitive salary for him to stay with an organization he has expressed a strong desire to play for. 

Given that Hart is also making his first playoff appearance in his six-year career, it seems likely that he would want to continue to remain in New York where he can play meaningful games in May and also play alongside his good friend and former Villanova teammate Jalen Brunson. 

Of course, those are all questions for another day as the Knicks prepare for a crucial Game 4 showdown against the Miami Heat on Monday night. A loss would put New York down 3-1 as they head back home and make the odds of advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals that much more difficult. 

If Hart can help carry the Knicks to the next round, it might make his negotiating stance that much stronger.

For more Knicks coverage, visit amNY Sports


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