New York Knicks forward Chris Copeland turned out to be quite the story during the 2012-13 season as the 28-year old rookie made quite the impression when given the opportunity.
Unfortunately for Knicks fans, that story is likely to turn out to be a short one as Copeland is all but assured to leave the Big Apple as a restricted free agent this offseason.
Several teams with cap space will offer Copeland well more than the Knicks one-year $988,872 qualifying offer they made to him on Tuesday.
One team in particular, the New Orleans Pelicans, appear to have serious interest in Copeland, which could all but spell the end to his days in New York.
According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, the Pelicans are planning to make a “strong bid” for Copeland.
The Pelicans have plenty of cap space and would be able to make Copeland an offer the Knicks are unable to match. Berman reported last month that Copeland would likely be seeking “Steve Novak money,” or about $4 million per year on a long-term deal.
If New Orleans was to meet that reported asking price, the Knicks wouldn’t be able to match the offer since they are already over the luxury tax line.
Berman also notes that Indiana Pacers president Donnie Walsh also has interest in Copeland.
The Pacers don’t have as much cap space as the Pelicans, but they could have the full $5.15 million mid-level exception available, so they, like many other teams in the league would also be able to outbid the Knicks.
In addition to seeking more money elsewhere, Copeland would likely be given the opportunity to play a lot more on another team, which would likely be a priority for him this offseason.
As a rookie, Copeland posted very impressive Per 36 minute averages of 20.3 points and 5.0 rebounds per game while shooting 47.9 percent from the floor and 43.1 percent from behind the arc.
With the Knicks desperately seeking more scoring, Copeland would be a tough guy to lose, but unfortunately the Knicks don’t have the financial means to keep him as the max they can give him is their mini mid-level exception of just barely over $3 million. If for some reason Copeland would accept that though, the Knicks would be unable to use that to sign anyone else.
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