One of the marks of a good team -- or at least a well-respected team -- is the ability to attract free agents to sign for less money than they could get elsewhere. The lure of the new-look New York Knicks is currently being put to the test, as key reserve Lance Thomas has been receiving offers from multiple teams.
So far, the Knicks are very much holding their own. Per Marc Berman:
While defensive forward Lance Thomas has been courted by five clubs, even turning down an offer from the Clippers, his chances of remaining a Knick still are "better than 50-50," according to an NBA source familiar with the matter.
"He still wants to stay," the source said. "He likes the moves they've done."
Berman's sources indicated that at least two offers "would slightly top what the Knicks can do." New York has about $6 million to offer him before they would have to dip into what precious little remains of their cap space.
I must say, it's pretty wild that he would turn down a deal from a perennial contender like the Clippers. The Spurs and Thunder are also reported to be interested, so we're talking about some real heavy hitters here.
A few factors are working in the Knicks favor. Lance is a local guy, born in Brooklyn. He also has a deep respect for Carmelo Anthony, who has been working out with Lance this summer at Melo's personal gym. Lance spoke glowingly of Melo in last week's Players' Tribune article:
He's a guy that has a certain reputation among some fans: "Great player but selfish," people might say. But those people don't know the guy. They don't see the great leader that he is. Melo just wants people by his side who are going to fight with him through the whole game, winning or losing. The Knicks have had a series of tough seasons and injuries. That's frustrating for him. He always wants to give more.
Lance ended the piece by saying he felt like he made New York his home last season, but that he's always ready to pack up his bags and continue what thus far has been an itinerant pro career.
You don't have to leave, Lance. We want you to stay! Melo wants you to stay! This can be your home for many years to come.