Josh Hart Opting Out Of Contract With New York Knicks, Will Test Out Free Agent Market

[Twitter/Screenshot/Public — @BleacherReport]

Andrew Powell Contributor
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Business is business.

Josh Hart was one of the main reasons why the New York Knicks had a season of success, eventually getting to the Eastern Conference Semifinals before being eliminated by my Miami Heat.

After being traded in the midseason from the Portland Trail Blazers, Hart averaged a stat line of 10.2 points-per-game (PPG), 7.0 rebounds-per-game and 3.6 assists-per-game. In the postseason, he bumped up his scoring to 10.4 PPG. But it wasn’t just the numbers where Hart contributed; he brought a level of intensity to the Knicks that wasn’t there before.

Well, heading into the offseason, Hart has a player option for the 2023-24 campaign that he can either accept or decline — and he’s decided on the latter. Speaking in a recent interview with Taylor Rooks, Hart said that he will be turning down his player option and testing out the free agent market.

As you heard, Josh Hart still wants to play for the New York Knicks, but he also wants an annual salary of $15-18 million — a raise from his $13 million player option. And he wants that salary on a multi-year deal.

Now, I looked it up and the Knicks are actually sitting pretty this offseason. Hart is the only player that they’re dealing with who has a player option and everybody else is locked up for the future. And, if they wanted to, New York could save over $15 million by getting Derrick Rose off the payroll with him having a team option this offseason.

So, the way that I’m seeing it, the Knicks have both the leverage and the funding to just go ahead and give Hart his money. And why wouldn’t you after this season? (RELATED: REPORT: Kyrie Irving Has Contacted LeBron James To Join Dallas Mavericks, Build Big 3 With Luka Dončić)

And I’m sure New York will, especially after a taste of the playoffs.