Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 7/3/12
Anyone crossing off the days separating them from an opportunity to see Landry Fields in a Phoenix Suns uniform might want to consider buying stock in marking pens. Fields, a restricted-free-agent swingman widely regarded as a potential sign-and-trade chip that the Kincks might use in their attempt to pay the going-away rate for Steve Nash, shook things up Tuesday by agreeing to an offer sheet with ... the Toronto Raptors. The Raptors, of course, are perceived as the Knicks' main challengers in the derby to hire Nash. It should be noted that deals only can be agreed to right now and can't be made official until July 11. The offer sheet reportedly is worth almost 20 million over three years, a pretty steep price tag for a guy who's averaged 9.8 points over his first two NBA seasons. The final year of this potential deal would require Fields' employee to cough up (based on various reports) between 8.5 million and 9.8 million. According to the player efficiency rating listed on basketball-reference.com, Fields' number dropped from 13.5 during his rookie season to 12.0 on a 2011-12 Knicks team, whose mismatched roster offered him fewer opportunities to shine. Further complicating the issue for New York is a pesky rule that forbids them from using Fields in a trade elsewhere if they choose to keep him my matching another team's offer sheet. A source close to the Knicks' side of this predicament told FOXSportsArizona.com that matching the Raptors' largesse "seems like a long shot." The source was asked if the Knicks would use second-year guard Iman Shumpert as the impetus to keep a sign-and-trade deal alive with Phoenix. "From a basketball perspective, I don't think there would be any support for that in the organization," the source said. "But you never know what the big boss (chairman James Dolan) might decide." Shumpert, you may recall, was high on the Suns' 2011 NBA Draft priority list at pick 13. They selected Markieff Morris but reportedly attempted to acquire another pick just to get the defensive-oriented star from Georgia Tech. No deal could be made, the Knicks picked Shumpert and the kid from Chicago delivered a first-team, All-Rookie effort that ended with a knee injury during the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. With a recovery time line that might keep him out of action until January (if not later), the Suns' current interest in Shumpert would be a matter of conjecture. With a contract that pays a measly 1.6 million next season, Shumpert would have to be joined by Toney Douglas (2 million) and a parade of low-earning Knicks teammates to reach a dollar level sufficient to make Nash prefer New York over Toronto. If Nash ends up anywhere other than Canada, the Raptors -- who already have wing hotshot DeMar DeRozan and just drafted swingman Terrence Ross with the eighth overall pick -- would have added the duplicate Fields in vain. MORE FROM CANADA A source close to Raptors restricted FA guard Jerryd Bayless said the former St. Mary's High and University of Arizona star has been told the team would like to keep him even if Nash comes aboard. Bayless, the 11th pick in the 2008 draft, averaged 11.4 points over 31 games last season, with most of his production occurring while Jose Calderon was out with an injury. The season highlight for Bayless came when poured in 28 points against Memphis on March 16 and 29 against Charlotte the following night. He suffered a partially torn left oblique muscle a few days later and missed the rest of the season. If Nash signs with Toronto, the Raptors would attempt to move the capable Jose Calderon, who has one year at 10 million left on his current contract.
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