Josh Hart Recruiting Warriors Guard to Come to Knicks

Josh Hart, Obi Toppin, Jalen Brunson, New York Knicks

Getty Josh Hart, Obi Toppin, Jalen Brunson, New York Knicks

Josh Hart has yet to re-sign with the New York Knicks. But it has not stopped him from recruiting his former Villanova teammates to join him and Jalen Brunson in New York.

One of them is Golden State Warriors guard Donte DiVincenzo, who has a $4.7 million player option which he will likely decline to get a richer long-term deal as an unrestricted free agent.

“Those [Villanova] guys in the league, I’m trying to get them to NY,” Hart told Bleacher Report’s Taylor Rooks in a one-on-one interview posted on June 5. “[Donte], that’s my guy. I was talking to him the other day.”

DiVincenzo successfully rehabbed his value with the Warriors after his performance dipped coming off a left ankle injury, prompting the Milwaukee Bucks to trade him to the Sacramento Kings.

The Warriors took a flier on DiVicenzo and the former Wildcat responded with 9.4 points per game on a career-high 39.7% from downtown on top of 4.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.3 steals as a spark plug off their bench.

Rooks read a tweet that said, “Donte could be the shooting that the Knicks need,” which she quickly followed with a quip, “That’s what’s on Josh’s mind, everyone.”

DiVincenzo, Brunson, Hart and Brooklyn Nets’ rising two-way wing Mikal Bridges won a championship together in Villanova in 2016. Divicenzo, Bridges and Brunson won another national title in 2018, a year after Hart left for the NBA.

DiVincenzo capped their second title run with a career-high 31 points, spiked by five triples, in the championship game against Michigan and was named the NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player.

“Those are my guys because as an athlete, and when you’re in those situations
especially when you go on the road, it’s just the guys in the locker room. It’s just just your boys. So we had that culture of high-character guys, and we were all extremely close. We all actually genuinely liked each other,” Hart told Rooks.

“Those four years that I had there [at Villanova] were amazing. I talked to all those guys to this day, and it obviously helped when you win, and you’re being successful as a team and a program. Individually, those are my brothers, and I hope we can share the court for a long time and hopefully in the same uniform. I love those guys,” Hart added.

The Knicks have the $12.2 million non-taxpayer exception, which they could use to reunite DiVincenzo with Hart and Brunson.

Josh Hart Hurt After Damian Lillard Did Not Pick Knicks

Hart was hurt after Damian Lillard, his former teammate, left him out when asked to choose among the Knicks, Miami Heat, Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics as a potential landing spot if his time in Portland ends.

“Damn, I thought I was your dawg too… @Dame Lillard,” Hart said, quote tweeting his former Portland Trail Blazers teammate interview with Showtimes’ The Last Stand.

Hart played with Lillard during the second half of last season and the first half of this season in Portland, where they developed a friendship.

Patrick Beverley Mentioned as ‘Sleeper’ Target for Knicks

Pesky defender Patrick Beverley is one of the “sleepers” that the Knicks should target in the offseason, according to Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley.

“If Beverley just rediscovers his touch from range—33.9 percent the past two seasons, 39.3 percent the six previous campaigns—he could be a tone-setting defender who won’t dominate the basketball and will convert a lot of the clean looks he gets. Considering there aren’t many touches to go around in an offense featuring Jalen Brunson, Julius Randle and RJ Barrett, that could be a valuable skill set to have,” Buckley wrote.

The 35-year-old Beverley is coming off a season where he juggled between the Los Angeles Lakers and his hometown team Chicago Bulls, averaging 6.2 points, his lowest since his rookie year, 3.7 rebounds and 2.9 assists off the bench.

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