Chris Copeland spoke to Alan Hahn on ESPN New York Radio 98.7 on Saturday about leaving the Knicks for the Pacers. According to Ian Begley, “the plan from the start” was to take less money to stay in New York.The Knicks never made him an official offer as they waited to see what the market was going to be for him as a restricted free agent.
Copeland signed a two year offer sheet worth 6.1 million dollars last night with the Pacers according to his agent John Spencer.
The Knicks after leaving themselves only 1.7 million to spend on Copeland after re-signing Pablo Prigioni will not be able to match it.
Copeland was the NBA Rookie of the Month in April and when the season began was the final player to make the roster. When given a chance to play he showed glimpses of being a solid rotation player, even starting a few games towards the end of the season.
His struggles were on defense and at times found himself stapled to the bench for long stretches of the season by Mike Woodson.
Copeland, 29, averaged 8.7 points and 2.1 rebounds last season and was a key part of the Knicks Game 5 win over the Pacers in a series they eventually lost in six games.
I don’t like this situation for two reasons.
1. He signed with the Pacers. The team that knocked us out saw more of his potential than the Knicks did apparently.
2. He was a good story that with some work could be better on defense and be a much cheaper option than Andrea Bargnani.
I’m happy that Copeland, who has battled his whole career to get this chance to make some serious money, has finally solidified himself in the NBA.
I’m sure he will be able to help the Pacers off the bench considering for the most part, their bench last season was ok at best.
For the Knicks, they once again let their top restricted free agent see what was out there and got burned when they cant match the deal he gets and agrees to.
Pablo Prigioni needed to be re-signed because he brings a toughness on both ends of the floor and the point guards spots were thin. Him taking up part of the mini mid-level exception was going to happen.
The Knicks now will have to move on and see what they can with the rest of the exception and veteran’s minimum to finll out the roster.
As much as I dislike the fact he left, like Tommy has said in the past, he is very much a replaceable part of the team.