Hart added that his goal is to re-sign with New York. After being acquired from the Trail Blazers at the February trade deadline, he was among the biggest factors for the Knicks’ second-half rise and first-round playoff win over the Cavaliers.
At the time, no one considered the Hart move to be much of a splash. It was more like a ripple. But for the Knicks, the deal paid major dividends, as Hart became the perfect fit.
“We’ll probably decline that (option) and do the free agency thing,” Hart said.
He will be opting out a deal that is set to pay him $12.9 million next season. By opting out, he is setting himself up for a significant raise.
Hart came off the bench in all but one of 25 regular-season games with the Knicks, averaging 10.2 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.6 assists. His stats remained largely the same in 11 playoff games.
“I love New York. I love the team. I love the coaching staff and the front office that we have. Obviously, that would be an ideal place for me, to just re-sign there,” he told Rooks. “Everything’s perfect off the court and on the court.”
That said, there is no doubt that rival teams will be in hot pursuit once Hart hits free agency at the end of the month.