The New York Knicks caused quite a stir when they extended a four-year, $71 million offer sheet to restricted free agent Tim Hardaway Jr. last week. The Hawks did not match, bringing Hardaway Jr. back to the Knicks -- the organization that drafted him, then traded him to the Hawks in 2015.
Tim Hardaway Jr. was traded for Jerian Grant who was traded for Derrick Rose who was renounced so NYK could sign Hardaway Jr. for $71M.— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) July 7, 2017
Many were shocked the Knicks would offer $71 million to a player they dealt away, including Hardaway Jr. himself. While meeting with the media Monday, the 25-year-old said he was "surprised."
Hardaway was "surprised" the Knicks wanted him. Said he's a more "mature" player now— Al Iannazzone (@Al_Iannazzone) July 10, 2017
Hardaway averaged a career-high 14.5 points with the Hawks last season in 27.3 minutes per game after averaging 10.5 points in 23.5 minutes per game in two seasons with the Knicks.
Hardaway said he feels pressure because of his larger-than-expected contract, but won't let it get to him.
"Yes, obviously there's pressure, but you gotta embrace it," he said. "You gotta take that to heart. I'm ready to do whatever I have to do to help this team succeed as a ballplayer on and off the court."
Hardaway likely will compete with Courtney Lee for the Knicks' starting shooting guard role alongside Kristaps Porzingis and Carmelo Anthony ... if Carmelo is still on the team when the season starts.