A couple expected updates at this hour:
1. The Knicks extended the usual $988k qualifying offer to Chris Copeland, which they had to do by June 30th to make him a restricted free agent*. They have to do that for Pablo Prigioni as well, but I haven't seen an announcement about his qualifying offer yet (perhaps because he's not in the US right now).
Though Jared Zwerling seems to suggest there's weirdness going on behind the scenes, Copeland is expected to decline that offer (he has until July 23) and become a restricted free agent, at which point the Knicks would be able to match offers up to the mini midlevel exception of about $3.19 million and not a dollar more (That limitation is a new thing. Zach Lowe explains it in footnote #11 here). There will probably be teams willing to pay Cope more than the Knicks can-- Marc Berman mentioned the
Hornets Pelicans today-- so if he's tryna get that sweet Steve Novak money, he's gone.
All of the above extends to Prigioni, too, whenever his qualifying offer arrives. Unfortunately, there's only that mini midlevel to go around.
2. Today is the deadline for J.R. Smith to pick up the $2.9 million player option on his contract. He will not do that, which will make him an unrestricted free agent. We've been told this would be the case all along.
The Knicks hold Smith's Early Bird rights, meaning they can offer him up to league average (about $5 million) per year, plus a bird of average size (a nice coot, for instance). Al Iannazzone names the Suns as one of the teams that might make a run at J.R.. It remains to be seen how much more than that league-average salary another team might offer J.R. and whether it'd be enough to entice him away from New York.
So, nothing unusual or unexpected here, though whatever Zwerling's hinting at has my tummy gurglin' a bit. The offseason!
*Update: So we're clear, this isn't the Knicks low-balling Copeland, at least not yet. They have to make Cope a qualifying offer to initiate his restricted free agency, and that's how much his QO is. Once Copeland rejects the QO, the actual offering and counter-offering doesn't start until July.