Hey now! Late yesterday, we discussed the tactic the Knicks had come up with to compete for Steve Nash's services. Instead of dangling the mere $3 million or so they have to offer right now, New York reportedly assembled a sign-and-trade package that centered on Landry Fields and included several other small, easily disposed contracts. A trade would clear space to build Nash's Knick salary up to around $8 million and would also give the Suns something in return for losing Nash. It sounded like an underdog to Toronto's reported three-year, $36 million offer for Nash, but it was something.
The Raptors, apparently not thrilled with New York's clever offer to Nash, found an equally clever (if extreme) counter tactic to hijack that offer. Toronto met with Fields and handed him a three-year offer sheet that amounts to about $20 million, including a "poison pill" of almost $9 million in the third year. Now, that's an absurd amount of money to offer a third-year player coming off a dismal season, but that's not quite what this is about.
Fields is a restricted free agent, and once the offer sheet becomes official on July 11, the Knicks will have three days to match. New York could theoretically do that to sign Fields, but they can not do that and trade him afterward. So, as long as Fields doesn't bail on his verbal agreement with the Raptors, he cannot be part of New York's trade with Phoenix for Nash. Thus, the Knicks no longer have a suitable offer to make unless they are willing to include someone like Iman Shumpert (something that would nauseate many Knicks fans, including this one), and probably no shot at getting Nash.
As for the Raptors, well ... good job? They already had the most lucrative offer for Nash by a wide margin, but apparently felt threatened enough by the Knicks' inferior package that they were willing to vastly overpay for Fields to fend them off. Now they might end up committing $56 million over three years to Steve Nash and Landry Fields. But hey, that's their journey.
The way these things go, I fully expect another bizarre twist, but as things currently stand, it seems that the Knicks will be out of the running for Steve Nash and — unless they are insane — also out of the running for their own guy in Fields. Good for you, though, Landry. Seriously. That is a LOT of money.
Free agency sure is exciting, isn't it? What could possibly be next for the Knicks?