Tim Hardaway Jr. Says He 'Definitely' Wants Carmelo Anthony Back With Knicks

Eloi Lecerf
Julho 11, 2017

Hardaway, whom Jackson traded two years ago, became a Knick after the Hawks decided over the weekend not to match the four-year, $71-million offer sheet he was given. "Prove that you belong in the NBA, '" Hardaway Jr. recalled Monday.

Knicks general manager Steve Mills, who will be handling the Anthony transaction, noted Hardaway's youth and athleticism when announcing the signing. The Knicks bet $71 million on that arrangement. All I know is that I'm going to come in here and work my tail off.

"They loved how I competed on both ends of the floor. I'm going to give the fans what they want to see, and I'm a mature player now", Hardaway Jr. said about the contract.

He added, "And they said straight up, 'You have to obviously improve a lot more on defense and improve a lot more on the offensive end.' So you can never settle".

The 6-foot-6 guard was the No. 24 pick in the 2013 draft after helping MI reach the NCAA championship game and was voted to the All-Rookie first team. When it was over, he was out - traded on the night of the draft for the rights to Jerian Grant. It paid off as he had his best season as a pro a year ago. And just the help of my supporting cast, my friends, my parents, my agent, they just said, 'Take it to heart. It made me a better person on and off the floor. It made me appreciate the opportunity at stake. And it just made me grow.

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"You play here for two years and then you're gone, and then two years later you get a phone call, and it's like, 'Wow, I wouldn't expect it coming from them, '" Hardaway said. The two continued to train together as recently as the 2017 offseason, which some feel played a role in the 25-year-old's return to The Mecca. "When they came with the maturity aspect it really helped me out on the floor, not taking insane shots, knowing where to be on the defensive end of the floor, picking and choosing my spots wisely when to attack and when not to, get my teammates involved".

He said he's "surprised" but also "happy" to be back in NY. "I definitely thought about it". Everything happens for a reason. When I got the call, I was very, very happy and overwhelmed. "But me being an older, more mature person, I'm taking this one very, very serious". At the end of the day it's a business. He is a good player, but he does not have the potential to be a starting shooting guard on a championship team.

For now, Mills retains the power to make that decision. "I was grateful that a team like Atlanta really wanted me to be a part of their franchise".

The Knicks aren't paying for Tim Hardaway Jr. of today. Only Carmelo Anthony and Lance Thomas remain from that roster, and in some ways, Hardaway's signing could help ease Anthony's exit. For their big free-agent signing, however, the goal and plan is clear - work hard and continue to get better. Just having that veteran leader out there on the floor, a go-to guy who can get you a bucket any given moment of the game, it's great. "It'll be tough for him to leave".

"I mean it's an odd feeling, but Melo's got to do what's best for his family and for him", Hardaway said. "Yes, we definitely want him back - no question", Hardaway Jr. said during a chat with reporters at a Knicks youth camp. He thinks he is ready to deliver. I think I can really excel in this type of offense than my second year in the league, but that was learning a new system. "The maturity aspect helped me out on the floor, not taking insane shots, knowing where to be on the defensive end".

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