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NBA Hawks reportedly pass on Knicks' $71 mn offer to Hardaway Jr.

© GETTY/AFP/File | Guard Tim Hardaway Jr., pictured in April 2017, accepted the four-year, $71 million offer from the New York Knicks, who had previously traded him away

NEW YORK (AFP) - 

Guard Tim Hardaway Jr. is apparently headed back to New York after the Atlanta Hawks opted not to match the massive $71 million (62 million euros) the Knicks offered the restricted free agent.

US media reported the Hawks would decline to match the four-year offer made by Knicks on Thursday, thus allowing Hardaway's move to go ahead.

It's a return to New York for Hardaway, who was the 24th pick by the Knicks in the 2013 NBA draft.

The 25-year-old shooting guard played his first two seasons with the Knicks before being traded on draft day in 2015 to the Hawks.

Hardaway is coming off the most productive season of his four-year career, averaging 14.5 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 27.3 minutes over 79 games (30 starts) in 2016-17.

But the Knicks' big offer for a player they traded away surprised many, especially after the team had been inactive in free agent trading.

The move could mean the Knicks will strengthen their efforts to trade veteran star Carmelo Anthony.

The Knicks endured another disappointing season in 2016-17, and haven't had a winning record since 2013, when the club won their only playoff series since 2000.

Trade rumors swirled around Anthony, some fueled by comments from Phil Jackson, the NBA coaching icon who resigned as Knicks president in June.

© 2017 AFP