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When the Knicks were chasing Carmelo Anthony, there were a lot of reports that the Nuggets coveted Landry Fields and that the Knicks refused to include him in any trade.
That's starting to feel like an Isiah Thomas moment for Donnie Walsh. Fields' game crashed into the side of a mountain the moment Anthony arrived in New York and now he's in position to make hash of the Knicks' offseason by agreeing to an offer sheet with the Raptors.
The news broke on Tuesday afternoon and the Knicks will have three days to match the deal assuming it becomes official on July 11, which is when the NBA starts to allow player movement. Nothing is official until then, which is important to remember while discussing the impact of the move.
Fields reportedly will get $20 million over three years with a huge spike in pay in the third year to make it more onerous on the Knicks' cap if they do match it. Toronto can fit the contract into their cap at the annual average value, which is high for a player like Fields but not remotely troublesome to their cap, so it is only a poison pill for the Knicks.
It's the kind of contract the Knicks likely feared another team making for Jeremy Lin -- something that could still happen, by the way -- since Lin's marketing appeal could allay fears of overpaying him. Instead it is Fields who got the call from Toronto.
Not that Fields is really the reason for the move, though. It's savvy stuff from Raptors General Manager Bryan Colangelo to block the Knicks from having much of a chance at getting Steve Nash in a sign-and-trade by getting Fields to agree to the offer sheet.
The Knicks can't match-and-trade Fields and they can't get a deal done with Nash without using him as part of the offer, which means the unlikely deal now has no chance of getting done unless Nash wants to leave $7 million on the table to play in New York. Good luck with that ace, Glen Grunwald.
The only downside for Colangelo is that he might actually wind up with Fields on his team for the next three years. He's probably fine with that if it nets him Nash, but it's a lot to pay for a player whose shooting percentage, self-confidence and minutes dropped while his turnovers increased.
Deciding what to do on Fields from the Knicks' end shouldn't be too tough. While they need bodies for next season, Fields isn't remotely worth what the Raptors are paying and the number would be even higher in New York thanks to the luxury tax.
They'll have to look elsewhere to fill Fields' minutes, which should tax scouts looking for kids capable of drilling line drives into the rim in between doing silly handshakes with Lin.
J.R. Smith will almost certainly be back, Iman Shumpert is on the mend and the team was already planning to bolster the backcourt with their mid-level exception, so it should be business pretty much as usual.
Or as close as we can get to such things during a Knicks offseason, anyway.
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