Chris Copeland could be headed to New Orleans. (Kent Smith/Getty Images)
The New Orleans Pelicans' potential acquisition of New York Knicks forward Chris Copeland could be one of the first moves the team makes under its new name.
Marc Berman of the New York Post reported Tuesday morning that the Pelicans, who switched from the Hornets after their season ended in the spring, will make a "strong bid...that will blow Knicks owner James Dolan out of the water."
In 56 games for the Knicks last season, the 29-year-old rookie averaged 8.7 points on 42.7 percent three-point shooting in 15 minutes per game.
Copeland, who said he prefers to stay in New York, is a restricted free agent, which means the Knicks can match any offer he receives up to $3.1 million using a mini mid-level exception. But Copeland is reportedly seeking $16 million over four years, and the Pelicans are under the salary cap so they will likely be able to go above and beyond any kind of offer the Knicks make to potentially retain him.
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While Al-Farouq Aminu had been a nice surprise for New Orleans this past season, the team has sharp-shooter Ryan Anderson as the only other true forward on the roster and could use the knack for scoring that Copeland displayed over the course of his first year in the NBA last season.
Berman reports that the Indiana Pacers are also interested in Copeland but they are not under the salary cap and thus likely wouldn't make an offer attractive enough financially to persuade him to sign. The Knicks worked out Shawne Williams on Monday, who had previously provided three-point shooting for New York in 2010-11, and as Berman reported, the workout could perhaps be a sign the Knicks are readying for Copeland's departure. NBA free agency begins July 1.
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