Knicks president Steve Mills justified G Tim Hardaway Jr.'s pricey contract saying the team had to be "aggressive," per Newsday's Al Iannazzone.
Many bashed the Knicks for giving Hardaway a four-year, $71 million contract being that he has never been a starter in his career, and spent time in the Hawks' development system. However, Mills defended the deal saying they couldn't pass up on a young guard with his potential.
"We watched him, in our opinion, grow over his time in the player development program that they had in Atlanta," Mills said. "So we decided he was a target."
"We felt like there are not that many opportunities in free agency that you have the opportunity to go after a 25-year-old. We made the decision that if you want to pry a restricted free agent away from the incumbent team, you have to be aggressive. So we made a decision to be aggressive."
With the amount of money shelled out, it is apparent the Knicks view him as a starter. Mills assured this fact as he said the team will implement in that role this season.
"As we look at the number, we believe Tim is a starting two-guard in this league," he said. "Our trajectory for him is to be a starting to-guard, the capability of being a starting two-guard for the rest of his career. And those guys average 16, 16.5 million dollars today. So that's how we came to the decision."
New GM Scott Perry "applauded that move from afar" as well. However, Hardaway's contract combined with G Ron Baker's two-year, $8.9 million deal leaves the Knicks with little space to add the veteran point guard they want to groom first-round pick PG Frank Ntilikina.
"I'm excited about young Frank but also I think we'll need some veteran guidance," Perry said. "We'll find out who that will be in the days and weeks to come, but you definitely want to bolster that position."
Last season, Hardaway started in 30 of the 79 games he played with the Hawks. He averaged 14.5 points, 2.3 assists, 2.8 rebounds while shooting 45.5 percent from the field.