Every NBA season may be unique unto itself, but the New York Knicks‘ late charge in 2022-23 definitely hearkens back to their run in 2020-21. That year, they morphed from being a 25-27 club to one that finished 10 games above .500 and in the top four of the conference standings.
And while we don’t yet know where the current Knicks will land in the postseason picture, there are other striking similarities between the respective squads.
Just as Derrick Rose keyed a turnaround after being acquired from the Detroit Pistons two years ago, veteran wing Josh Hart helped usher in a nine-game winning streak after arriving in NYC via PDX at the trade deadline. Even Hart’s teammates have joked that he’s responsible for New York’s meteoric rise.
While that’s an exaggeration, the 28-year-old’s impact thus far is impossible to deny. As such, fans are already feeling anxious about what will happen with his player option for next season. For his part, though, league insider Michael Scotto is advising the Knicks faithful to slow their roll.
Scotto: Josh Hart Likely to Opt Out of Final Year With Knicks, But…
Scotto and Knicks beat writer Ian Begley discussed the Hart situation during the March 9 edition of the HoopsHype Podcast. In doing so, neither hoops scribed seemed overly concerned about New York losing their sparkplug to another team this summer.
“Hart has almost a $13 million player option this summer, which he’s expected to decline and become a free agent. But fear not Knicks fans — Hart loves the fit in New York and the Knicks want to re-sign him in free agency…” Scotto said.
“I don’t see him leaving. I see him getting either a three or four-year deal at some point once he becomes eligible.”
Begley concurred with that assessment, citing the price that was paid to bring Hart in as something that likely doesn’t occur if Knicks president Leon Rose doesn’t have some inkling that he could re-up with the baller.
“I don’t think they’re making that trade, attaching a future first that’s protected and Cam Reddish to bring him here without a degree of confidence that he’ll re-sign.”
Scotto Remarks on Hart’s Cush Fit Under Tom Thibodeau
Since moving westward, Reddish has done his part to make the trade a win-win with his performance in a Trail Blazers uniform. After 11 games, he’s averaging 13.8 points, 3.4 boards and nearly three assists per outing while shooting 39.1% from three-point range.
That strong performance in his new digs leaves one to wonder why Reddish never got a legitimate opportunity to stick with the Knicks. And, really, it may just be because he’s not a Thibodeau-type player.
Clearly, Hart — who’s logging an 11-6-3 line with an effective field-goal percentage of 72.3 as a Knick — doesn’t have that same issue.
“If Tom Thibodeau was on Hinge and Bumble and he was filling out his love language section, he’d put Josh Hart…” Scotto joked.
“Any NBA executive or scout I’ve spoken to says the same thing about the pairing of Thibodeau and Hart on the Knicks, ‘It’s a perfect fit.’ He’s been a Swiss army knife for the Knicks as a versatile role player.”