It was only a matter of time before rookie forward Chris Copeland left the New York Knicks for a better opportunity and apparently that opportunity will come from one of the Knicks rivals in the Indiana Pacers.
According to Yahoo! Sports Adrian Wojnarowski, Copland has signed a two-year deal with the Pacers, as Indiana was long rumored to be hot after Copeland as soon as free agency began on July 1.
Indiana is finalizing agreement on a two-year deal with Knicks free agent Chris Copeland, league sources tell Y!
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 5, 2013
Terms were not disclosed, and being that he is a restricted free agent the Knicks will have three days to match Indiana’s offer.
But with the Knicks having just a little under $1.75 million of the mid-level exception remaining after signing point guard Pablo Prigioni, the Pacers almost certainly made Copeland an offer that would be impossible for the Knicks to match.
The deal won’t become final until next week, so after it does the clock starts ticking for the Knicks, but it really won’t matter as the Knicks will have no chance to keep Copeland.
As a 29-year old rookie a season ago, Copeland became a fan favorite among Knicks fans largely in part because of his scoring ability.
Copeland averaged an impressive 20.3 points per 36 minutes, but even when the Knicks needed some additional scoring punch, Knicks’ head coach Mike Woodson often didn’t turn to Copeland. That’s large in part due to his lack of rebounding and defensive skills.
Signing with the Pacers makes sense for Copeland as he should get more minutes in Indiana and his scoring ability should fit in nicely off the Pacers’ bench.
But we will see how he fits in Frank Vogel’s system, which remains to be seen.
To get major minutes on a very good Indiana team, you have to be able to rebound and play defense and unfortunately those are things that Copeland does very poorly.
However even though he won’t be wearing orange and blue any longer, Copeland is a good story and a guy worth rooting for in the future.
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