NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Tim Hardaway Jr. is a Knick again. He’d like to be teammates with Carmelo Anthony again, too.
At his introductory news conference Monday — or rather, reintroductory — Hardaway, whom the Knicks signed to a four-year, $71 million contract Saturday, said he hopes the team does not trade Anthony.
“Yes, we definitely want him back, no question,” Hardaway said. “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’s great to have that. You want to have that. It’ll be tough for him to leave. But like I say, he has to do what’s best for him and his family.”
The Knicks are trying to trade Anthony, but the 10-time All-Star must waive his no-trade clause. He has reportedly told the Knicks he’s open to being dealt to the Houston Rockets or Cleveland Cavaliers.
ESPN reported Monday that the Knicks do not envision a scenario in which Hardaway and Anthony will share the court next season.
Hardaway rejoins the team that drafted him with the 24th overall pick in 2013, only to trade him to Atlanta two years later.
He said he’s “surprised” but also “happy” to be back in New York.
“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. “I would expect it coming from a different team or a different franchise.”
The 6-foot-6 shooting guard is coming off a breakout season in which he averaged 14.5 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game.
The Knicks expect Hardaway, 25, to continue to develop.
“They loved how I competed on both ends of the floor,” Hardaway said. “They saw the energy I gave, and it was a great feeling just to hear all of that. … 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.”
Hardaway plays the same position as Courtney Lee, whom the Knicks signed to a four-year, $48 million deal last summer. But the Knicks have no plans to trade Lee, ESPN reported.