The Knicks are going to lose free-agent forward Chris Copeland to the team that eliminated them from the playoffs.
The Indiana Pacers will sign Copeland to a two-year, $6-million offer sheet, his agent, John Spencer, said Friday. Both years are fully guaranteed.
Copeland is a restricted free agent, so the Knicks will have three days to match the offer. But they don't have the money to match and thus can't even work out a sign-and-trade. They will lose Copeland outright, Spencer said.
The Knicks have roughly $1.7 million remaining on their $3.18-million mini-midlevel exception after using part of it to bring back Pablo Prigioni.
"Chris really wanted to be in New York," Spencer said. "When they gave up half of it to Pablo, it made it tough. Chris really wanted to come back. But he's getting significantly more than he could in New York."
Copeland, 29, who played most of his career overseas, was an NBA rookie this past season, making the minimum of $473,604. He averaged 8.7 points and shot 42.1 percent from three-point range.
"Indiana got to the Eastern Conference finals and Chris feels like he can be the piece to get them over the hump," Spencer said. "Chris wanted to be in New York. It took a lot of convincing that it was a good situation."
The team made re-signing J.R. Smith and Prigioni priorities and came to terms with both of them Thursday. Smith got a four-year, $25-million deal and Prigioni a three-year contract for just under $6 million. The Knicks also acquired 7-foot shooter Andrea Bargnani from Toronto earlier in the week.
The deals can't be announced until the NBA moratorium ends Wednesday.
The Knicks still have the rest of the mini-midlevel to use plus minimum contracts to fill out their roster.
They will turn their attention to signing a small forward who can shoot and defend. Among the free agents they've targeted are Francisco Garcia, Carlos Delfino and Dahntay Jones.
They also need more big bodies and another point guard. Bringing back Kenyon Martin is a possibility, but the Knicks also have expressed interest in Elton Brand. The point guards on their list include Will Bynum, Aaron Brooks, Devin Harris and Sebastian Telfair.
The Dolan family owns
controlling interests in the
Knicks, Madison Square
Garden and Cablevision.
Cablevision owns Newsday.