Knicks Expected to ‘Cave’ in Josh Hart Contract Talks

Josh Hart, New York Knicks

Getty Josh Hart, New York Knicks

Josh Hart’s future with the New York Knicks will be among the front office’s top priorities this summer.

After making an incredible impact since joining the team around the February 9 trade deadline, the Knicks are widely expected to retain Hart’s services long-term and will likely enter into contract negotiations once he opts out of his player option for next season.

According to an Eastern Conference Executive, who spoke with Heavy on Sports’ Sean Deveney under the condition of anonymity, the Knicks will try to avoid committing to Hart on a four-year deal but would likely back down on that stance should he push hard during negotiations.

“They loved what he did for them,” The executive said. “He completely remade that bench, which was a pretty terrible bench for a while there. I think there is no way they let him leave. They will not be looking to give him a four-year deal, but if he insists on it, they probably will cave. They really like him. So, the expectation would be he goes back with the Knicks.”

Hart played 25 regular-season games for the Knicks this past season, producing 10.2 points, 7 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per contest while converting his shots at a 61.9% rate from two-point range and a 51.9% clip from three-point range.

Josh Hart Likely to Decline Player Option

During a recent podcast interview with Bleacher Report’s Taylor Rooks, Hart discussed his current thought process on whether he will be opting out of the final year of his current contract.

“We’ll probably decline that and do the free agency thing,” Hart said. “My first free agency, I was restricted, and it was a**…I love New York. I love the team. I love the coaching staff. The front office that we have, I think, building in the right direction. Got young guys, draft picks, all those sort of things. Obviously, that would be an ideal place to re-sign there and do that. But, obviously, I know it’s a business; they gotta want me at a certain price, and I gotta want the same thing.”

Given the impact that Hart made on the Knicks rotation after joining the team, it would be a surprise if he didn’t agree terms on a new deal to remain as part of Tom Thibodeau‘s roster.

Kristaps Porzingis Heaps Praise on New York

It would seem that Hart isn’t the only player to have fallen in love with the city of New York. During a recent interview on the Ariel Helwani Show, former Knicks big man Kristaps Porzingis spoke fondly of his time with the Knickerbockers.

“That was like my first love, the city of New York,” Porzingis said. “Playing in [Madison Square Garden], so, of course, I have not the best feeling when I get so much hate, but, as I said, [the relationship is] better. Of course, I can understand now how the fans could feel that way or how they viewed me at that time, and then I asked for a trade, and I get painted as the villain. But it is what it is.”

Porzingis had a solid season for the Washington Wizards this year, producing a stat line of 23.2 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 2.7 assists on 49.8% shooting from the field and 38.5% shooting from deep. However, given the Knicks’ current contention timeline, any talk of the team’s former draft pick returning to the franchise is likely wide of the mark.
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