The New York Knicks are on the verge of securing a long-term future with versatile swingman Josh Hart, as reports indicate that the team is in the final stages of negotiating a four-year, $81 million contract extension. The impending deal reinforces Hart’s place in the Knicks’ roster and highlights the team’s confidence in his multifaceted abilities.
Hart’s journey with the Knicks began in the aftermath of a four-team trade during last season’s trade deadline, which saw him transition from the Portland Trail Blazers to New York. His impact was immediate, making substantial contributions and showcasing his all-around game. In 25 games, Hart demonstrated his versatility by averaging 10.2 points, seven rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 1.4 steals per game. His remarkable shooting percentages of 58.6% overall and 51.9% from beyond the arc further solidified his value to the team.
During the playoffs, Hart continued to excel, seamlessly transitioning between reserve and starting roles. In 11 games, including five starts, he posted impressive numbers of 10.4 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game. His standout performances were particularly evident in the Knicks’ first-round series victory against the Cleveland Cavaliers, where he contributed key plays, including a 19-point display in Game 4 and a pivotal 12-rebound effort in the series-clinching Game 5.
Hart’s dedication to the Knicks’ cause has been unwavering, and he has consistently expressed his desire to remain with the team for the long haul. This aspiration is now materializing as he and the team finalize a four-year, $81 million extension. This significant decision was preceded by Hart’s choice to opt into the first year of his contract, a move that facilitated cap space for the Knicks to acquire Donte DiVincenzo using the mid-level exception.
Upon hearing the news of the contract extension, Hart took to Twitter, sharing his excitement with heart emojis in the team’s iconic orange and blue colors. Teammate and close friend Jalen Brunson playfully remarked, “Pick up that tab tonight nephew @joshhart,” capturing the camaraderie within the team.
Coach Tom Thibodeau has been effusive in his praise for Hart’s contributions, highlighting his value on both ends of the court. Thibodeau emphasized Hart’s versatility, saying, “He’s an elite rebounder, but he’s a playmaker. And when I say playmaker I’m not talking about in the sense of just by the pass… He gets big rebounds late when the game is on the line, and in traffic. And he’s all about the team and all about winning.”
Hart’s reputation as an elite rebounder and a selfless team player has been evident in his on-court performance. His impact extends beyond the box score, as he consistently demonstrated his commitment to the Knicks’ success.