Knicks sign Tim Hardaway Jr., C.J. Leslie
The Knicks made their first official signings of the offseason, inking first-round pick Tim Hardaway Jr. and rookie free-agent forward C.J. Leslie on Monday.
Both will play on the Knicks' summer league team, which begins practice Tuesday night in Las Vegas. They open their summer league schedule Friday.
Among the other players on the team are Iman Shumpert, former Farmingdale State 7-foot center AJ Matthews, J.R. Smith's brother Chris, former St. John's forward Justin Brownlee, former Knicks center Jerome Jordan and former Golden State forward Jeremy Tyler.
Hardaway, a 6-6 shooting guard, signed a four-year, $6.03-million deal. The first two years for $2.44 million are guaranteed for the No. 24 pick in the draft. The last two years are team options, as per the rules of the collective-bargaining agreement.
Hardaway averaged 14.5 points and 4.7 rebounds and shot 37.4 percent on three-pointers as a junior at Michigan, which went to the national title game last season.
Leslie, 6-9, is an interesting prospect. He averaged 15.1 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.2 blocks for North Carolina State as a junior. He was projected to be a second-round draft pick but wasn't taken, and the Knicks signed him to a partially guaranteed one-year deal. He likely will be invited to training camp and have a chance to make the team.
The Knicks made some moves last week, agreeing to acquire Andrea Bargnani from Toronto and coming to terms on new deals for J.R. Smith and Pablo Prigioni. Those transactions won't be official until after the NBA moratorium ends Wednesday.
The Knicks still have at least five roster spots to fill and need insurance at point guard, another small forward/wing player and at least one big man.
Some of the players still available in whom the Knicks have interest are Sebastian Telfair, Aaron Brooks, Beno Udrih, Dahntay Jones and Elton Brand. Bringing back Kenyon Martin remains an option. The Knicks have about $1.7 million left on their mini-midlevel exception and to use on free agents and minimum contracts.
Rounding out the Knicks' summer league team are guard J'Covan Brown, forward Terrence Jennings, forward Tony Mitchell, guard Toure Murry and forward Eloy Vargas.
Sheed the coach. Rasheed Wallace, who played 21 games with the Knicks this past season before retiring because of a foot injury, will be an assistant coach on Maurice Cheeks' Detroit Pistons staff.
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