Home Is Where Hart Is: Josh Hart Eyes Long-Term Deal With Knicks

Josh Hart, New York Knicks

Getty Josh Hart #3 of the New York Knicks directs his teammates during the first half against the Houston Rockets.

If Josh Hart has his way, he’d like to stick with the New York Knicks beyond this season. Hart, a Maryland native, told has expressed his desire to Andscape’s Marc Spears in a March 21 story that he would love to make New York his home after spending his first five-and-a-half seasons in the NBA on the West Coast.

“This is my sixth year in the league, fourth team, sixth head coach,” Hart said. “I’ve been traded three times. It’s been a whirlwind. Not really, ideally how I thought my first six years were going to go, but I want to find a home.”

Hart is expected to decline his $12.9 million player option for a more lucrative contract. But he has no intention of leaving the Knicks unless the feeling isn’t mutual, he said.

“I want bigger things for my wife and myself,” Hart said. “Just find a home somewhere where we are valued and really like living there. And I think that can be New York. I would love for it to be New York, and hopefully, the organization feels the same way. Coming up, this contract is hopefully my biggest one, one where I’m making sure my family’s fully taken care of. So, I’ve also got to take that into account, too.”

Hart and his wife, Shannon, are about to become first-time parents to twins. So the proximity of Maryland to New York is also one factor that Hart is considering aside from his strong ties within the team, he told Spears.

On top of his on-and-off-the-court chemistry with Knicks rising star and Villanova teammate Jalen Brunson, Hart also has a deep bond with Knicks president Leon Rose, his former agent.

“Hopefully, I can tap his pockets a little bit,” Hart told New York Post after the All-Star break. “That’s the guy that brought me to CAA. I was bummed when he left. He obviously left me in good hands with Aaron Mintz and Dave Spahn. I think [it helps]. … It’s always love with him and me, no matter what side I’m on or whatever it is. I know it’s a business, but I let y’all know my side of it.”

What Can Knicks Offer?

The Knicks didn’t give up a lottery-protected pick just for a half-year rental of Hart. By trading for Hart, the Knicks also acquired his Bird Rights, meaning they can go over the salary cap to sign him to a long-term deal once he declines his player option.

In early February, ESPN’s salary cap guru Bobby Marks estimated Hart’s next contract to be valued at around $16-17 million per year.

Made For New York Knicks

Hart and the Knicks are a match made in heaven.

Hart fit like a glove in Tom Thibodeau’s system, becoming a default closer right from the start. His all-heart, all-out style of play has endeared him to the Knicks fan base. His on-court impact is evident in their 12-4 record since his arrival at the trade deadline.

The Knicks’ mid-season acquisition is averaging 11.1 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 3.9 assists while shooting a remarkable 60.6% from the field and 55.6% from deep.

Hart made the Knicks deeper and better.

Since he joined the Knicks, they have been outscoring their opponent by 8.6 points during his 30.4-minute stint per game. Only backup center Isiah Hartenstein has a better point differential (9.0 points) during that span.

Hart is poised to make his first playoff appearance, and doing it with the Knicks will make it more memorable.

“Obviously, being able to suit up in that blue and orange and that atmosphere, the vibe is different,” Hart told Spears. “It just gives you more energy, and you feed off the crowd. They’re fantastic, and it’s my favorite place to play. Oh, man, I can’t imagine right now what MSG will be like in the playoffs. Obviously, I hope that we get there and bring the playoffs home. The league is better when the Knicks are good, and we can get playoffs with MSG. It’s just different.”

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