Via Marc Berman – NY Post
Knicks free agent Chris Copeland could fly the coop for the Big Easy to become a Pelican, The Post has learned.
According to an NBA source, the newly named New Orleans Pelicans are planning to make a strong bid for the 6-foot-9 sniper as they are well under the salary cap and can make an offer that will blow Knicks owner James Dolan out of the water.
The Knicks can match any Copeland offer since he is a restricted free agent, but only up to $3.1 million — their mini mid-level exception. Since the Pelicans are under the cap, they can easily top that number.
The Pelicans are thin at small forward, having started Al-Farouq Aminu this season. The former Hornets love the inside-outside game Copeland displayed as a Knicks rookie out of the Ethias League in Belgium.
The new rules of the collective bargaining agreement penalizing luxury-taxpayers could very well end the Knicks’ chances of keeping Copeland. Under the old CBA, the Knicks’ mid-level exception was $5.5 million to sign a free agent. But the taxpayers’ mid-level is just $3.18 million now.
Pacers president Donnie Walsh also has interest in Copeland after watching him in the playoff series against Indiana. But Indiana is not under the salary cap. Copeland has stated his strong preference is to remain a Knick, but the financial situation may make that impossible.
The Post first reported Copeland was seeking “Steve Novak money’’ — four years, $16 million.
In anticipation of Copeland’s possible departure, the Knicks worked out their former 3-point ace Shawne Williams yesterday.
Knickswag Point of View:
This is the Knicks same old story. They seemed to be capped out all of the time. If Cope does sign elsewhere it is understandable on his end. I believe at this point if the Shawne Williams work out went well, then they should sign him in the event that Cope does leave for greener pastures.
The Knicks could use their taxpayer mini mid on Cope up to 3.1 million, and if that satisfies Copeland and his camp, then maybe that could work. However, do the Knicks want to use their entire mini mid on Chris Copeland? That is the 3 million dollar question.
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