After losing top point guard target Steve Nash to the Los Angeles Lakers, the New York Knicks have reportedly set their sights on free agent Raymond Felton.
The New York Daily News reported on Thursday that the Knicks have emerged as the favorite to land Felton, who played a single season with the Knicks before being traded to the Denver Nuggets in the Carmelo Anthony trade. The Knicks might be forced to engage the Portland Trail Blazers in a sign-and-trade deal to meet Felton's salary requirements, but there is real interest on both sides to get a deal done.
The Knicks badly wanted to acquire Nash, in order to pair him with the inexperienced Jeremy Lin, but the 38-year-old spurned the Knicks for a chance to win a title alongside Kobe Bryant. The Knicks realize that they need another point guard to help shoulder the load and that Felton, who developed great chemistry with Amar'e Stoudemire, would do a nice job in that role.
The familiarity that Felton has with the Knicks could be a major reason why he returns to New York, according to his agent.
He loved playing in New York. Our choice was to never have left New York, Tony Dutt told the New York Post. There were no hard feelings. Management handled it the best they could. I don't think they ever misled us and I never felt they wanted him in that trade.
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I consider them definitely on his high list. He would love to go back. He loved New York and was playing at an all-star level.''
The Knicks also have interest in free agent Jason Kidd, but it is expected that he'll re-sign with the Dallas Mavericks.
New York must also re-sign Lin, whose stock is on the rise after the Rockets made a four-year, $31 million offer. The Knicks will reportedly match any offer that Lin gets, but a backloaded deal could severely hamper the organization financially in the years going forward.