Knicks ink Hardaway Jr after Hawks fail to match $71m offer

GOING HOME. Tim Hardaway Jr is heading back to the New York Knicks. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images North America/AFP

GOING HOME. Tim Hardaway Jr is heading back to the New York Knicks.

Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images North America/AFP

NEW YORK, USA – Guard Tim Hardaway Jr is headed back to New York, signed by the Knicks on Saturday, July 8 (Sunday Manila time) after the Atlanta Hawks opted not to match the $71 million the Knicks offered the restricted free agent.

"Bringing back Tim to his original NBA home is an exciting time for him and this franchise," Knicks general manager Steve Mills said in announcing the signing. "As a versatile wing whose game continues to improve, he will fit right into the core of players that make up a roster emphasizing youth, athleticism, accountability and unselfishness."

The Knicks did not disclose final terms of the deal, but on Thursday they made their big 4-year offer, which the Hawks had 48 hours to match if they wanted to keep the 25-year-old shooting guard.

Hardaway was the 24th pick by the Knicks in the 2013 NBA draft.

He played his first two seasons with the Knicks before being traded on draft day in 2015 to the Hawks.

Hardaway is coming off the most productive season of his 4-year career, averaging 14.5 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 27.3 minutes over 79 games (30 starts) in 2016-17.

But the Knicks' big offer for a player they traded away surprised many, especially after the team had been inactive in free agent trading.

The move could mean the Knicks will strengthen their efforts to trade veteran star Carmelo Anthony.

The Knicks endured another disappointing season in 2016-17, and haven't had a winning record since 2013, when the club won their only playoff series since 2000.

Trade rumors swirled around Anthony, some fueled by comments from Phil Jackson, the NBA coaching icon who resigned as Knicks president in June. – Rappler.com