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News » New York Knicks Getting Inside 2009-09-04

New York Knicks Getting Inside 2009-09-04

New York Knicks Getting Inside 2009-09-04
It has been a Seinfeld-like summer for the Knicks -- an offseason about nothing. Pursuits of Jason Kidd, Grant Hill, Andre Miller and even Ramon Sessions fizzled. And that's good news for the team's two restricted free agents, David Lee and Nate Robinson.

Both have had to wait through an agonizing summer of uncertainty. Though neither will get the long-term security they had hoped for, it is expected the Knicks will extend to both one-year contract offers, for likely above their respective qualifying offers, to keep them in the fold for the coming season.

Lee and Robinson will be eligible for unrestricted free agency next summer, when the Knicks plan to make a major splash in free agency. Donnie Walsh has been extremely protective of the cap space he carved out last season and has made it clear this summer he has no plans to compromise his ability to make a max contract offer in 2010 (thus the summer about nothing).

This is the reason why Lee and Robinson remain in limbo. The Knicks would like to keep at least one of them long-term and it is likely Lee would be that player. But he was seeking upwards of $10 million per and Walsh was not ready to commit to that kind of contract for one of the league's most productive rebounders.

The caveat is that Lee and Robinson still will impact the 2010 cap situation because of their "cap holds" -- a CBA stipulation that would include both players in at two-and-a-half times their previous salary -- but Walsh has two choices before June 30: waive their Bird Rights to eliminate the cap holds or sign an extension to set their real cap value.

One thing no one expects is a "holdout" situation, which had been suggested by one report and immediately dismissed by all parties involved. Walsh remains open to considering all sign-and-trade opportunities if they make sense for the team and the players have agreed to negotiate a one-year deal if a sign-and-trade cannot be completed.

The protection of the 2010 plan is also why the Knicks pulled back from their hot pursuit of Sessions, a restricted free agent guard who was seeking the full mid-level exception. Walsh and the Knicks would love to add the 23-year-old to their core of young players, but Sessions was looking for too much in the second year, which would eat up precious cap space for 2010-11. With the NBA warning teams about the possibility of the cap dropping to as low as $50 million next season, Walsh has decided it best to stay extremely conservative.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: September 4, 2009


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