Knicks Rumors: Tim Hardaway Jr., Courtney Lee put on trade block

(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

Recent New York Knicks rumors involve Tim Hardaway Jr. and Courtney Lee, who have both been made available by the organization.

New York Knicks rumors have really picked up in recent days. With the 2019 NBA Trade Deadline quickly approaching, Knicks rumors are sure to continue popping up as the team looks to reshape its roster for the stretch run of the season.

New York has multiple players to keep an eye on heading into the deadline. The team has veteran players that no longer fit into its plans and some players on expiring deals that are playing very well and could help push contending teams to the next level.

A lot of attention has recently been given to center Enes Kanter. Kanter recently shared that he was expected to start against the Houston Rockets after Luke Kornet got hurt. Not only did Kanter not start, but he also didn’t even get in the game.

Kanter let his frustrations be known following the game, and could be on the move as he seems to be out of the rotation now. Kanter is not the only player that the organization is looking to trade in the coming weeks.

According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, the Knicks will also look to trade Tim Haradway Jr. and Courtney Lee. Both players have been made available by the team in trade talks.

Lee began the season on the sidelines because of an injury. He has been unable to get a consistent role in the rotation since, appearing in only 11 games. After having one of the best seasons of his career in 2017-18, Lee has seen his value crater this season.

Lee is averaging only 5.1 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game. While he is not getting many opportunities with the Knicks, he has remained a consummate professional. He is someone that could help a contending team with his 3-point shooting and defensive prowess.

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However, the Knicks may have missed their opportunity to move him for anything of value. To unload Lee, the team may have to attach an asset to him if it wants to accomplish the goal of not taking any long-term money back.

The same can be said for Hardaway, who is owed over $37 million the next two seasons. That isn’t a contract many teams will be willing or able to absorb. To get Hardaway off the books, the Knicks will probably have to attach an asset to him, possibly getting a third team involved.

It is unlikely that any team with cap space will want to save that instead of using it on Hardaway. Attaching someone such as Frank Ntilikina to him, or future draft picks may be necessary to move Hardaway.

In theory, Hardaway has some appeal. He showed during his time with the Atlanta Hawks that he can thrive in a system with structure. He’s struggled as the go-to option, seeing his efficiency crater over time without a second go-to scorer, such as Kristaps Porzingis, alongside him.

The motivation to trade Lee and Hardaway is simple. The Knicks want to clear as much cap space as possible for this summer, when they hope they can land some franchise-altering free agents.

With how things are currently situated, New York doesn’t have enough cap space for a max player such as Kevin Durant when adding in first round draft picks and cap holds. If it’s able to move either Lee or Hardaway, or both, it would be in business this offseason to reshape the roster with free agent additions.

We have seen this strategy backfire on the Knicks previously, when they chased LeBron James and landed Amar’e Stoudemire instead. It is a risky proposition, but a worthwhile one. Even if they are unable to use the cap space this summer, they can roll it over to the summer after and try again.

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As long as there is a plan in place, that is a welcomed change for Knicks fans.