New York Knicks forward Chris Copeland will be a restricted free agent this summer and the Oklahoma City Thunder are one of many teams that have expressed interest in him.
According to one league source, several other suitors will make pitches for Smith and Copeland. Smith has received early interest from the Detroit Pistons and Phoenix Suns, and Copeland’s list includes the Dallas Mavericks, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Lakers, New Orleans Pelicans, Oklahoma City Thunder, Toronto Raptors, Utah Jazz and Washington Wizards.
Copeland averaged 8.7 points and 2.7 rebounds per game with the Knicks this year, in what was his rookie season.
The most the Knicks could offer Copeland is $3.18 million next season.
The Thunder are unlikely to want to commit to that kind of money for Copeland given the current makeup of the roster. There simply isn’t any more room for a player like Copeland, even making that little, for the Thunder to stay clear of the luxury tax.
In light of rumors about the Thunder making trades tonight at the NBA Draft, it could open the door for a player like Copeland to be a viable addition to the roster. If the Thunder make a trade where they send out more players than they get back, it could open up some cap room and make Copeland a more realistic possibility.
Copeland is a good athlete who can score in bunches while comfortably coming off the bench. He shot 42.1 percent from behind the three-point line this year as well, which would be a welcome addition to the Thunder bench.
Right now, before the draft, it’s hard to imagine the Thunder getting their hands on Copeland, but a lot may change by the end of the night.