Linsanity Over in
Knicks Acquire Raymond Felton
In what is being considered a very surprising move, the New York Knicks have acquired point guard Raymond Felton from the Portland Trail Blazers as part of a sign and trade.
As part of the deal, Felton and the Knicks agreed to a three year contract worth $10 million.
To finish the sign and trade, the Knicks also received big man Kurt Thomas. In exchange, the Knicks will send Dan Gadzuric, Jared Jeffries and a 2016 second round pick. Rumors are swirling there may also be rights to a European player exchanged.
This is a big surprise to some because it was widely considered that the Knicks would be matching the offer that restricted free agent point guard Jeremy Lin received from the Houston Rockets. Lin and the Rockets agreed to a three year $25.1 million contract that would have ballooned to almost $15 million in the third year.
Even with such an increase, it was thought that the Knicks would match any deal for Lin, who had become an overnight sensation this past basketball season. Lin played a big part in the Knicks making the post-season, so it was considered that nothing would keep him from coming back. But, with the acquisition of Felton, matching Lin’s offer sheet is no longer a guarantee.
Matching Lin’s agreement with the Rockets would have put the Knicks into a catastrophic hole of luxury tax in the coming seasons. This has never been a problem for the Knicks, as owner James Dolan has been willing to pay any amount of money to put the players on the court that he wants. But with this hesitation, it would seem that the new Collective Bargaining Agreement may actually be working.
The new CBA was put in place to make teams think twice about handing out big contracts by increasing the luxury tax penalties for teams that went over the salary cap. For once, the Knicks and their management are being cap conscious, hence why the decision to add Felton instead of matching Lin. Felton will not cost them as much in luxury taxes and will give the Knicks more cap flexibility in the coming years. If they matched and retained Lin, they would be stuck with very little money and virtually the same team for the next three seasons.
It has not been said yet what the Knicks will do with Lin’s offer sheet, but it is getting harder and harder to believe that they will match. If the Knicks do match for Lin, you can except to see basically the same Knicks squad for the next three seasons with very little changes in terms of the roster. You can also expect to see a lot of two point guard sets if Lin is retained, as the Knicks will have to find playing time for Jason Kidd, Felton, Lin and newly acquired Pablo Prigioni.