The Knicks raised more than a few eyebrows when they offered a four-year, $71 million deal to Tim Hardaway Jr last summer, but they were worried that Atlanta would match it.

Instead, the Hawks declined to bring the restricted free agent back, and Hardaway Jr is now back in New York and thriving.

Hardaway Jr, 25, is part of a youth movement in Gotham that’s giving Knicks fans reason for hope again.

Per the NY Post:

“I’m thankful to be back here, man,” Hardaway said on Thanksgiving Eve, after the Knicks staged a historic 41-10 third quarter, which included a 28-0 run, to beat the Raptors. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for me. I’m happy. I’m excited. This group loves one another. You can see it on the floor. We’re playing for one another. The passion is there, and we continue to find our identity.”

 

Nobody knows what the Hawks’ threshold for bringing back Hardaway was, but sources have said it was significantly lower than the four-years and $71 million Knicks president Steve Mills lavished on him.

 

“There was that concern,” Jeff Hornacek said of the potential the Hawks would make a matching offer. “Tim had started to turn the corner in terms of being a great player. He finished last season having a very, very good second half. We knew that was the beginning. I don’t think there was concern bringing him back. Mills did a great job of figuring out how to get him and what it might take. There was concern Atlanta might match it. When they didn’t, we were very happy.”

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