The Knicks have themselves "a warrior" in Raymond Felton. That's what the point guard said Friday night as his agent, Tony Dutt, was putting the finishing touches on a contract.
"They're definitely getting a warrior," Felton told South Carolina television station WPDE.
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Felton said he will be in New York Sunday for a physical. The deal is expected to be officially completed Monday and likely marks the end of the Knicks' work in free agency this summer.
Felton, 26, who is 6-1 and 200 pounds, is a quick, sturdily built playmaker and a good defender. He got a two-year deal worth $7 million per season with a team option for a third year. Felton turned down a five-year, $40-million extension with the Bobcats last season, a move that cost him some long-term security.
"It may not be for as many years as I wanted, but at the same time, when I get done with my deal, I'll still be about 28 or 29, still be young, still be in my prime," Felton said. "So hopefully, I'll get another one after that."
The short-term agreement allows the Knicks flexibility so they can maneuver easily in the event a superstar on the level of Chris Paul or even Carmelo Anthony becomes available. Anthony can be a free agent next summer and Paul can opt out of his contract in 2012.
Another option that remains under consideration for the Knicks involves Tony Parker, who is in the final year of his contract with the Spurs and is seeking a long-term extension.
Parker has told friends that if the Spurs aren't willing to give him a max extension and plan to use George Hill as the starter, he would like to be traded. He has told friends he'd love to play for the Knicks.
The Knicks have made calls to the Hornets about Paul - as have most of the teams in the league - and were told the All-Star guard is not available. But the Hornets are going through an ownership transfer and Paul told ESPN last month that he would be open to a trade if the franchise wasn't committed to building a championship-caliber team.
Felton, the fifth overall pick in 2005, was in the same draft class as Paul and Deron Williams but has not reached their level. Playing in Mike D'Antoni's guard-friendly pick-and-roll system, especially with big man Amar'e Stoudemire, could be just what Felton needs to elevate his status. "We're gonna get the ball up and down the court and we're going to get shots up," Felton said. "It's going to be fun for me. I can't wait."
Donnie Walsh said Friday that Felton likely will be the last bit of work the Knicks do in free agency, but he added that the team still will explore potential trades. The lineup is laden with forwards but sorely lacks a second perimeter threat to go with Danilo Gallinari who would help open the floor and stretch the defense against the pick-and-roll.
The Knicks had targeted Mike Miller in free agency but lost him to the juggernaut being built in Miami. Kyle Korver also was on the list, but he chose the Chicago Bulls. There's not much left on the open market as far as affordable shooters go, though the team has had conversations with Rasual Butler and also could consider Roger Mason.
D'Antoni is in Las Vegas to work with the Knicks' summer league team, which begins play Sunday against the Denver Nuggets. A few veterans already have been at practice, including Wilson Chandler and newly acquired Anthony Randolph. Eddy Curry also is expected to arrive for some workouts but has yet to show.
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