The Knicks have made Tim Hardaway Jr. and Courtney Lee obtainable through commerce upfront of the N.B.A.’s Feb. 7 commerce deadline, in keeping with three folks accustomed to the group’s stance.
The group’s motivation in each circumstances is essentially monetary, in keeping with the folks, who weren’t approved to debate the state of affairs publicly.
Finding a commerce earlier than the deadline to shed both Hardaway’s or Lee’s contract with out taking wage again that extends past this season would be certain that the Knicks have the requisite salary-cap house in July to pursue top-tier free brokers comparable to Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker.
It stays to be seen, nevertheless, if the Knicks will have the ability to discover a commerce accomplice for Hardaway or Lee with out attaching an extra asset to the deal, comparable to future draft compensation or their 2017 first-round decide, Frank Ntilikina.
The Knicks can technically generate roughly $55 million in salary-cap house this summer time, however the cap maintain for the restricted free agent Kristaps Porzingis and different looming bills — comparable to a first-round draft decide in June and a June 20 deadline for choosing up Allonzo Trier’s $three.6 million group possibility for subsequent season — may reduce into that determine considerably.
Hardaway, who at 26 has been a productive offensive participant for the Knicks however a defensive legal responsibility, is scheduled to earn $18.2 million subsequent season, with a $19 million participant choice to observe in 2020-21. Although he’s averaging a team-leading 19.6 factors per sport, Hardaway is capturing simply 39.2 p.c from the ground.
Lee, 33, is scheduled to earn $12.eight million subsequent season within the closing yr of his present contract.
The veteran Knicks ahead Enes Kanter has additionally been made obtainable by the Knicks upfront of the commerce deadline. But dealing Kanter earlier than the deadline wouldn’t assist the Knicks’ salary-cap state of affairs this summer time as a result of Kanter’s $18.6 million wage is an expiring contract.
Kanter didn’t play Wednesday night time in opposition to Houston and has grown more and more pissed off along with his dwindling position, with the Knicks (10-36) firmly centered on growing their youthful gamers and prioritizing draft place.
After the Knicks’ loss to the Rockets on Wednesday night time, Kanter informed reporters he had been knowledgeable by Coach David Fizdale within the morning that he can be beginning, solely to spend the complete sport on the bench — though Kanter did acknowledge that he was knowledgeable of the change in course earlier than tipoff by the assistant coach Keith Smart.
“What they’re doing is pretty messed up,” Kanter mentioned. “I deserve manner higher. They didn’t clarify me something. I’m simply going to let my agent deal with it.
“I really like the Knicks, don’t get me flawed. I really like the gang and M.S.G. and have love for this metropolis, however I wish to play basketball. Either play me or simply let me play someplace.”
The Knicks have been attempting to accommodate Kanter with a commerce, in keeping with one particular person with information of the group’s pondering. Trading Kanter, nevertheless, is complicated due to his team-high wage. The Knicks don’t wish to tackle contracts in return that final past this season to take care of monetary flexibility for free company and re-signing Porzingis.
Kanter is predicted to hunt a contract buyout from the Knicks to turn out to be a free agent if the deadline passes with no commerce to a brand new group. He must be waived by the Knicks by March 1 to stay playoff-eligible for one other group this season.