The Atlanta Hawks entered the 2017 offseason with a number of interesting decisions to make. However, only one player hitting the market came with the option to match any contract and that was the situation with restricted free agent shooting guard Tim Hardaway.
Now, the Hawks will officially have that choice to make, as Shams Charania of The Vertical reports that Hardaway has inked a four-year offer sheet with the New York Knicks.
Atlanta RFA Tim Hardaway Jr. has signed a four-year offer sheet with the New York Knicks, league sources tell The Vertical.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 7, 2017
Moments later, Adrian Wojnarowski and Ian Begley of ESPN reported that Hardaway’s offer sheet is for a total of $71 million.
Story with @Ianbegley: Restricted free agent Tim Hardaway Jr., has signed a 4-year, $71M offer sheet with New York.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 7, 2017
And, for good measure, the fourth year is reportedly a player option and the deal involves a 15 percent trade kicker.
With @wojespn, Knicks' offer sheet to Tim Hardaway Jr. contains a 15% trade kicker, league sources told ESPN. 4th year is a player option.— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) July 7, 2017
This is, frankly, quite a bit of money for the 25-year-old shooting guard, especially in a market that is seemingly tempered when compared to 2016. Hardaway Jr. signs for roughly the same contract Kent Bazemore secured a year ago and, while he was arguably the better player in 2016-2017 and younger at the time of the deal, Atlanta’s decision could be lessened by the sheer financial set-up of this contract.
On one hand, Hardaway Jr. made great strides during his second season in Atlanta, developing into a legitimate offensive weapon (57 percent true shooting, 19.1 points per 36 minutes) and becoming more passable defensively. With that said, there are still real questions about whether he is a long-time starter at the shooting guard spot and, if the Hawks are not convinced of that (and more), passing on the offer sheet is likely the only move.
With that said, there is some buzz that the Hawks were planning to match the offer and that only the massive nature of the financial details could dissuade the team.
The Hawks have planned on matching Tim Hardaway Jr.'s offer sheets, & here comes test: 4 yrs, $71 million offer sheet signed w/ NY. ESPN 1st— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) July 7, 2017
The Hawks will have 48 hours to match the offer sheet once it is signed and arrives back to Atlanta. The clock is ticking. Stay tuned.