For six seasons, Tim Hardaway established himself as not only a great player in the NBA, but as one of the best players in the history of the Golden State Warriors. He averaged 19.8 points and 9.3 assists after he was chosen with the 14th pick coming out of Texas El-Paso in 1989, before he was dealt away in a horrible deal with Miami that brought back Bimbo Coles and Kevin Willis.
Coles spent four years with the Warriors, averaging 8.7 points. Willis appeared in just 28 games for Golden State.
In case you needed a reminder about the great Run TMC teams of that Warriors era:
But perhaps the Warriors could rectify that historical blunder somehow this offseason, by getting the second coming of Hardaway—literally. Mavericks guard Tim Hardaway Jr. is a free agent this summer and sure would look good following his father’s footsteps in the Bay Area.
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Could the Warriors actually pull it off? Well, maybe, but it won’t be easy. That was the verdict delivered by the elder Hardaway in an interview with 95.7 The Game in San Francisco.
Hardaway Jr. Not an Easy Get for Warriors
Certainly, the Warriors can’t afford to sign Hardaway Jr. outright. And that is why Hardaway was measured in his response when asked about his son playing and flourishing in the Warriors’ system:
That’s up to (Golden State GM) Bob Myers. It’s strictly up to Bob Myers, if he wants Tim, he knows who his agent is, Mark Bartelstein. He can talk to Mark Bartelstein and come up with an agreement. First of all, does he want to come there and second of all, would he flourish there? Yeah, I think he would flourish there. Do they have the money to get him there? It’s a lot of variables involved with that. Bob Myers and everybody with the great Golden State Warriors staff that he has directing him and helping him out, they’re gonna come to the right conclusion and if they think it is feasible for them, they will seek him. If they don’t, they won’t seek him.
The team is well over the salary cap and will have only the taxpayer’s midlevel exception available this summer. That’s just $5.7 million. Currently, Hardaway is in the fourth year of a $71 million contract, and made $18.9 million this season.
Hardaway Sr.: ‘I Would Love Him in a Golden State Warriors Uniform’
A loose estimate of what Hardaway can expect in free agency is somewhere around $20-24 million per year. He is 29 years old, so a contract that runs three years is likely, maybe four years with an option on the final season.
The Warriors would have to find a way to get under the luxury tax apron and work out a sign-and-trade to get Hardaway Jr. on board. Or, they could convince him to sign a one-year deal worth the $5.7 million exception in hopes of helping Golden State to a championship.
He would be in good position to do that—Hardaway is the kind of tough, selfless bench player the Warriors could use. He averaged 16.6 points last year and made 39.1% of his 3-pointers. But let’s be real: He’s not giving up $15 million-plus just to follow his dad into a Warriors uni.
The elder Hardaway would not mind, but …
“That’s not my decision,” he said. “I would love him in a Golden State Warriors uniform, no question. I think he would flourish, no question. But I’m just saying this: It’s not my decision.”