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Knicks want to keep Chris Copeland this summer, but it isn’t that simple

May 17, 2013, 11:58 AM EDT

Chris Copeland AP

If you need to know the value of Chris Copeland to the Knicks and their small-ball lineup, all you needed to do was watch Game 5 against the Pacers Thursday, when he had 13 points and four board, helping key a season-extending win for the Knicks.

Even if coach Mike Woodson didn’t recognize Copeland’s value (he had used him in a limited role this postseason) other teams did — which is going to make it tougher to keep Copeland in a Knicks uniform this summer.

The Knicks do not have Copeland’s “Bird rights,” meaning they can’t just go over the cap to keep him in house. With the Knicks set to be over the tax apron next year, their options with Copeland are limited, reports the New York Post.

The Knicks will extend Copeland his $900,000 qualifying offer to keep him restricted so they can match an offer. But they may be prohibited from matching any offer more than $3 million.

They would have to use one of their precious exceptions — the $1.9 million biannual exception or the $3 million mini mid-level exception given to luxury taxpayers. The Knicks don’t have the full $5 million mid-level because of their lousy cap situation.

The Knicks only get to add one player this summer at the $3 million exception — is Copeland worth that and the need they must fill the most?

Plus, if another team comes in with a $4 million a year offer for three or four years, the Knicks simply cannot match. It’s not allowed under league rules.

And in a league where a big man — Copeland is 6’9” — who can space the floor as a three point shooter has real value, the idea of $4 million a year for him is not unreasonable at all.

Which is to say, Copeland’s impressive run might have played him off the Knicks.

  1. protectthishouse54 - May 17, 2013 at 12:07 PM

    The only reason he hasn’t gotten more run is because his defense is piss poor. We’ll see if that affects his free agency.

    • eventhorizon04 - May 17, 2013 at 12:16 PM

      Agreed. Chris Copeland is a great shooter, and he makes effort plays, but man, if you watch him on defense, you see why a defense-first coach like Woodson was so reluctant to play him.

      You’d really think a player would stop ball-watching after being victimized by 1 or 2 back-door cuts in a game after his defensive assignment notices he’s not being watched and makes a cut, but I’ve seen Copeland get burned by that 3 or 4 times in a single game. I’m sure for a defensive coach, it’s maddening.

      That being said, he’s a decent rebounder and terrific – and very efficient – scorer. He scored 8.7 points in 15.4 minutes per game, which equals 20.3 points on a per-36 minute basis. His shooting splits were 47.9% FG, 42.1% 3PT, and 75.9% FT. He can be used as a power forward and spread out an opposing defense. There will be a bit of market for him, though his age (29) and defense will hurt him.

    • fanofevilempire - May 17, 2013 at 5:06 PM

      yeah Woody yells at him on Defense.

  2. readysethike - May 17, 2013 at 1:16 PM

    he is not worth more then 3 mil a year

  3. skinsfanwill - May 17, 2013 at 1:51 PM

    Luke Walton made 6.1 million last year. That makes Copeland worth about $20 million in my eyes.

  4. erckle31 - May 17, 2013 at 2:31 PM

    Max deal or bust! Sounds reasonable.

  5. sportsnut101 - May 17, 2013 at 3:07 PM

    Didn’t Novak get 3 mill a year n he can’t play def n he can’t even creat his own shot like Copland can so Copland will get 3 mill at least.

    Only reason he hasn’t played is cuz coach woodson is so stubborn. Tyson chandler makes the dumbest fouls in every game but u call that could def pls man

  6. Mr. Wright 212 - May 17, 2013 at 3:39 PM

    Don’t think he’s going anywhere, anyway. And his defense has been MUCH better since early March. Too bad Coach failed to realize that JR isn’t exactly working hard to fight over those screens that George has been running off all series when JR has been on him. Cope was pretty damn good defensively and on the boards last night.

    • fanofevilempire - May 17, 2013 at 5:05 PM

      He is a Jersey guy, BIG market like NY, I think he could be a rotation guy but not at 4 mil per
      year which they can’t match anyway and is he worth the 3 mil price tag as it is and he doesn’t
      play good defense and he is 29.I wish him nothing but the best, he played BIG in game 5.

  7. Kevin S. - May 17, 2013 at 4:12 PM

    You don’t get the BAE if you’re over the cap. Copeland can’t be New York’s biggest signing this offseason.

  8. Mr. Wright 212 - May 17, 2013 at 5:15 PM

    Cope ain’t going nowhere.

  9. borderline1988 - May 17, 2013 at 6:31 PM

    I remember watching him in Summer league…he was one of those guys who you turned your head at b/c he could make plays, but wasn’t a scout’s favourite because he lacked fundamentals and didn’t have any sort of special athletiscm.

    Good for him..the guy seems like he works hard and doesn’t take his time on the court for granted. If only he could play some decent defense, he’d be one of the most sought-after bench players in the league.

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