The New York Knicks have a ton of salary tied up in a small number of guys, which severely limits what they are able to do in this summer’s NBA Free Agency period. After signing J.R. Smith to a four-year deal and using half of their mini mid-level exception on Pablo Prigioni, their finances became even more limited.
Their next goal for this off-season was to try and find a way to sign small forward Chris Copeland, who just finished his rookie year with the Knicks. According to a report from ESPN New York, though, the Knicks have missed out on their guy as Copeland has agreed to an offer sheet for two years and $6 million from the Indiana Pacers.
Because the Knicks used part of their mini mid-level exception to sign Prigioni, they only had approximately $1.7 million next year that they could offer Copeland. With this deal with the Pacers reportedly paying him $3 million per year, the Knicks were obviously unable to financially match that deal, meaning the decision was really never theirs to make regarding Copeland.
The 29-year-old Copeland was a key contributor for the Knicks last year, both off the bench and as a player who stepped into the starting lineup on occasion. Though last season was his rookie year, he showed a strong capability offensively and proved his versatility as a scorer as he’s able to knock down the outside shot and attack the paint.
It’s unfortunate for the Knicks that they were unable to land Copeland, but it’s also not that surprising, either. They are relatively crippled financially at this point with the deals of guys like Amar’e Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani, as well as other, weighing on their cap-hit. It’s going to be interesting to see what the Knicks can salvage in free agency with their paltry amount of remaining cap-room.