Yesterday I wrote about a few potential shooting guard options with Dan Gadzuric’s deal, but now, let’s look at one last option that some might believe to be ridiculous, but still an option, non the less: Landry Fields.
After the Toronto Raptors offered Fields an offer-sheet valued around $20 million, Knicks fans took to twitter to say their good-byes. On first glance, matching such a contract for Fields would seem preposterous, as he received even more guaranteed money than Jeremy Lin, but on further inspection, Fields could end up back in New York… It’s up to James Dolan.
Since the Knicks will be capped out for the foreseeable future, they will have a difficult time adding players over the next few off-seasons. Giving JR Smith a partially guaranteed deal was smart, since they’ll hold his early bird-rights next summer, allowing them the chance to re-sign him for his market value (as long as his market value is around $5 million). With the additions of Camby and Kidd, as well as the re-signings of Novak and Lin, Dolan has shown he’s willing to spend, as the Knicks already have about “$76 million this season, $77 million in 2013-14 and as much as $85 million or so in 2014-15, depending on how much Kidd’s and Camby’s contracts are guaranteed that season.” For the next three-years, the Knicks are above the $74 million luxury tax “apron” threshold. Unfortunately, starting next off-season, teams in the Knicks’ position will not be eligible to conduct sign-and-trades, which severely limits a team over the cap’s ability to improve.
After this off-season, the only means the Knicks will have to add free-agents will be by offering the tax-payer’s mid-level exception (~$3.09 million), and the veteran’s minimum. No more sign-and-trades…
JR Smith is signed for this year, and he can opt-out then re-sign for a starting salary of $5 million next year, but there’s no guarantee that Smith will re-sign after this season, as he could receive offers above the $5 million. If Smith were to walk, the Knicks would need to add another shooting guard, but would have limited ways to do so. Also, until Shumpert returns from injury, Smith cannot play 48 minutes a game, because if he was to get injured, we’d be left with no one.
I trust Glen Grunwald and his team to do their due diligence before even thinking about matching Fields’ offer-sheet, but if they can’t find a shooting guard in a sign-and-trade in the next three-days, giving Fields $20 million might be their only chance at a decent shooting guard for the foreseeable future. His salary will have very few implications on the Knicks’ salary cap, just on Dolan’s wallet.
With that said, if there are no other options at the shooting guard position, I think Dolan and Grunwald will actually have to think long and hard over the next three days about matching Fields’ deal and shelling out money to cover the luxury tax implications.