The New York Knicks made several moves this 2023 NBA free agency, letting Derrick Rose go and then signing Donte DiVincenzo to reunite him with his Villanova buddies Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart. However, it cannot be denied that the most important move he made was keeping Hart through his player option.
The Knicks surprised many NBA fans with their stellar 2022-23 campaign, advancing to the Eastern Conference semifinals due to Brunson’s sensational play. New York’s pricey 2022 contract from the Dallas Mavericks led the team to 47 wins in the regular season and a five-game sweep of the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round. And despite losing to the Miami Heat in six games, it was still a successful season for the team with the likes of Emmanuel Quickly and RJ Barrett solidifying themselves as key forwards.
Of course Hart was a big part of that incredible run. The Knicks were underrated and United NationsDERAPEastCIButThe move past the trade deadline has paid off for him, and his decision in NBA free agency to stay in New York shows how much stake he is buying in the team.
Josh Hart Exercises Player Option $12.96
Hart is no typical wing knockdown outside shooter or athletic high-flyer, but he does the dirty work that often results in wins. Signing him was a calculated risk as he only had one player option left on his contract, which he exercised the previous June 29 before free agency began. Hart could have gone to free agency, but he opted to return to the Big Apple for at least one more year.
Hart and the Knicks could easily agree on a new long-term contract as Hart deserved to be paid more than the mid-level exception due to his immense contribution in the few months he played with New York. Probably the main reason why they chose their player option is because the Knicks accommodated DiVincenzo and signed a four-year, $50 million deal.
The three Villanova boys are re-united on one team with Brunson, Hart and DiVincenzo on the Knicks. Does this mean they’ll try to influence Mikal Bridges’ mind and convince him to go to the Knicks and form the Villanova Quartet? That remains to be seen, but it will be a joyous sight for any New York City fan.
The main reason why Hart’s player option is the best move for the Knicks is because it reflects his sacrifices and his priorities in his NBA career. Even though he hasn’t even completed a full season in New York, it shows how much he loves the city and organization, that he sacrificed a few million dollars for the betterment of the roster.
Had the Knicks not been able to offer $50 million, another franchise would likely have swooped in for DiVincenzo’s services. The Knicks needed both Hart and DiVincenzo, so the package deal ultimately worked out for his team. It was clear throughout the season that the Big Apple franchise had a major gap at the wing position, as there was a time when Quentin Grimes played all 48 minutes in postseason competition.
The front office did a great job prioritizing Hart and signing DiVincenzo, who could be part of the closing lineup for a postseason-contending team. With the salary cap expected to rise each season and Hart’s potential to continue to progress, he could earn a bigger and longer contract in the 2024 offseason.
It looked like the Knicks were going to be the laughing stock of the NBA once again Disappointing 2022 CampaignBut the outlook for the new nucleus in the Big Apple is optimistic.