Rather than test free agency, Josh Hart decided to opt into his player option for the 2023-24 season, remaining with the Knicks.

New York Knicks guard Josh Hart has opted into his $12.9 million player option to return to the team for the 2023-24 season, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. It was an open secret that Hart was bound to return to the team, and now the deal is sealed just one day ahead of the opening to free agency.

Hart, 28, came over to the Knicks midway through their 2022-23 season in a trade with the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for Cam Reddish and a protected 1st round pick in this year’s draft. Hart was a former teammate of Jalen Brunson at Villanova University where the two won an NCAA Championship. He was a serviceable member of several NBA teams prior to arriving in New York, drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers with the 30th overall pick in 2017 and then moving on to the New Orleans Pelicans and Portland after his stint there.

Hart averaged 9.8 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game last season with both the Knicks and Blazers, and was credited for giving New York a much-needed midseason boost to solidify their standing as the fifth seed this postseason and add hustle and defense to the Knicks’ bench unit.

Per ESPN’s Tim Bontemps, Hart now has the flexibility to extend off of this deal and gives the team the ability to use the full mid-level exception to add a player this coming free agency.

In addition to retaining Josh Hart, the Knicks also exercised a $1.8 million team option for Deuce McBride and extended qualifying offers to both Trevor Keels and Duane Washington Jr., both of which were on two-way contracts, per Fred Katz of The Athletic. More moves are sure to follow for the Knicks with free agency starting tomorrow evening at 6:00 pm EST, as the team has already been mentioned as a suitor for a potential James Harden trade.

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