Hedo Turkoglu looked good and ready to sign with the Trail Blazers, leaving little room for Portland to scoop up David Lee. Now that he's pulled a Turkish Two-Step and made a beeline for Toronto, things may change. Here's Marc Berman in another brilliantly-headlined piece:
The Blazers have long lusted after Lee, who also seeks $10 million per season, exactly the amount the Blazers are under the cap. Bartlestein said because Lee is restricted, the Blazers were fearful of waiting 10 days to see if the Knicks would match and instead jumped at the surer thing in Turkoglu.
With Memphis and Detroit making other moves and Portland involved with Turkoglu, the Knicks' chances of re-signing Lee for $7 to $8 million had seemed to increase.
Bartlestein claims he's talked to nearly 15 over-the-cap teams who have proposed sign-and-trade deals with the Knicks for Lee. But because he is a base-year compensation player, it is difficult to make the math work under the CBA.
Turkoglu leaving Orlando also affects their other free agent, Nate Robinson. As the Knicks await word on Jason Kidd's decision, they are anxious to see if Robinson will sign an offer sheet on July 8 with another club. The Knicks would have 10 days to match -- and that obviously would depend if they sign Grant Hill or Kidd.
According to a person familiar with the situation, two of Robinson's five most serious inquiries have come from the NBA Finalists -- the Lakers and Magic. If Turkoglu winds up in Toronto, Orlando might get serious with Robinson.
I wouldn't be surprised at all if the Blazers quickly turn their focus to Lee, who doesn't seem to have been getting as many homerun offers as expected. As some consolation, it was reported yesterday that Toronto was in the running for Lee, so I guess we can scratch off one suitor while re-introducing another. As for Nate, it seems like the Knicks and other teams are in a bit of a game of chicken. With most of the free agent point guards still up for grabs, nobody's willing to throw a number Nate's way just yet. Next week, we'll see if that changes.
All of this sorta makes you miss the days when NY was fiscally irresponsible and had no money to spend in free agency, doesn't it? We didn't have to worry about these things. Just kidding. I don't think anybody misses that.
Maybe a little?