As the ongoing question of whether Jeremy Lin will be a New York Knick next season continues, it appears the Knicks have turned their attention to another possibility.
The Knicks have agreed to a sign-and-trade deal with the Portland Trailblazers to acquire point guard Raymond Felton and center Kurt Thomas for Jared Jeffries, Dan Gadzuric and Knicks’ 2012 second round pick Kostas Papanikolaou. The Felton deal is reportedly three-years, $10 million which is much cheaper than resigning Jeremy Lin.
As of right now, the Knicks are unsure if matching the Rockets’ three-year $25.1 million offer sheet would be in their best interest. Lin would be due $5 million in the first year, $5.225 million in the second year and $14.8 million in the third year.
Lin played in just 26 games as an everyday player last season and despite averaging 18.5 points and 7.6 assists, his performance dropped toward the end of the season. In his final nine games, Lin averaged just 13.6 points, 5.9 assists and shot 39.1 from the field.
The Knicks already owe Carmelo Anthony $24.4 million, Amare Stoudemire $23.4 million, Tyson Chandler $14.6 million and Iman Shumpert $2.6 for a combined $65 million three years from now. If the Knicks were to decide to match the Rockets’ offer for Lin, they would owe $79.8 to their five core players in three years.
Signing Raymond Felton might end up being the smarter move since he is a proven veteran who has played seven seasons in the NBA. Felton spent his first five seasons with the Charlotte Bobcats, then a year between the Knicks and Denver Nuggets and last year with the Trail Blazers.
Felton averaged 11.4 points and 6.5 assists in 31.8 minutes per game last season and in his previous 54-game stint with the Knicks under the Mike D’Antoni pick-and-roll offense, he averaged 17.1 points and 9.0 assists in 38.4 minutes per game.
Prior to the trade two years ago that sent Felton to the Nuggets, the Knicks held a 28-26 record. The Knicks had to give up Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Timofey Mozgov, the Knicks’ 2014 first-round draft pick, the Golden State Warriors’ 2012 and 2013 second-round picks and $3 million in cash to acquire Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Shelden Williams, Anthony Carter and Renaldo Balkman.
Now Felton will return to the Knicks with a different supporting cast this time around. The Knicks have a bench filled with quality backups in Jason Kidd, J.R. Smith, Steve Novak, Marcus Camby and Kurt Thomas.