Decision day for two Knicks facing contract deadlines on Saturday resulted in Josh Hart buying a few more days to make his choice and a likely ending for Derrick Rose.
The Knicks agreed to extend Hart’s deadline on his $12.9 million player option from Saturday night until Thursday, ESPN reported.
Also, as expected, the Knicks declined their $15.6 million team option on Rose, according to reports.
Hart, who was obtained from the Trail Blazers at the February trade deadline, said this month in a podcast interview with Bleacher Report that he “probably” would decline his option and “do the free-agency thing,” although he consistently has expressed an interest in re-signing with the Knicks.
Hart also could opt-in for $12.9 million for next season and sign an extension with the Knicks beginning in 2024-25 for up to four years and $81 million.
Nets wing Mikal Bridges, a teammate of Hart’s at Villanova, said Saturday that he hopes Hart and the Knicks can work out a long-term deal.
“You always know what you’re gonna get out of Josh, he just works so hard. He’s a dog out there. He does everything,” Bridges told The Post during an appearance in Brooklyn. “Obviously, I know he wants to be in New York, and I think he should be paid what he wants. You’re always gonna need a guy like that, and they needed a guy like Josh.
“Josh lives for the bright lights and doesn’t fold under pressure and you know he’s gonna play hard and give what he’s got every time he’s out there.”
Rose, a longtime favorite of coach Tom Thibodeau and the 2010-11 league MVP, fell out of the Knicks’ playing rotation in December and barely played for the remainder of the season.
The 34–year-old point guard totaled just five minutes of action after Dec. 31, including three in Game 3 of the first round of the playoffs against the Cavaliers at Madison Square Garden.
The Knicks could have exercised the team option on Rose to provide themselves another expiring contract to include in trades, but by cutting ties, they will be eligible to use a $12.2 million exception in free agency.
Bridges, who was a key part of the Nets’ return when they dealt Kevin Durant to the Suns at the trade deadline, also effusively praised Knicks point guard Jalen Brunson, another college teammate.
Bridges said he wasn’t surprised by Brunson’s breakout performance in the first season of a four-year deal worth $104 million with the Knicks.
“It’s easier to say now, but I kind of saw what he was going to do as soon as he got there. Once I found out he was going to New York, I knew he was gonna blow up and go crazy,” Bridges said. “I know what kind of player and person he is. I knew he was gonna blow up in the New York market.
“I knew it was going to be ridiculous, and he did what he did. I just knew that was gonna happen, just being around Jalen and knowing him and knowing where he was in Dallas, obviously playing behind Luca [Doncic]. It’s been amazing. He took a little backseat [with the Mavericks], but once the Knicks gave him the keys, I knew what he was going to do.”