Rumor: Pelicans Looking to Land Chris Copeland

USA TODAY Sports

The Hornets are looking to sign Chris Copeland after free agency starts on July 1st, according to an anonymous league source. Keep in mind that this is a rumor from the New York Post, but it appears to be being picked up by a number of more reputable sources.

Chris Copeland is a restricted free agent this year after his rookie season at age 29 with the New York Knicks, where he posted an impressive 110 Ortg on a 25% usage rate in a bench role. He graduated from the University of Colorado in Boulder in 2006, and then hasn't spent more than a season at the same place since. He played in the D-League for a year, and then in Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium. The Knicks signed him last year, and he put up solid numbers off the bench.

The Knicks would like to sign him again, apparently, but since they're already over the salary cap, the new CBA limits them to offering a "mini-mid-level" deal - $3.1M per year. The Pacers have supposedly expressed interest, as well, but they're limited by the same rules, since they'll be over the salary cap at the time free agency starts.

The Pelicans, however, are well under the salary cap and could easily beat $3.1M per year. Now, Copeland has expressed interest in two things - getting a $16M, 4-year contract and staying in New York. I suspect the former would win out over the latter if he had to choose.

Copeland would fill two huge needs on the Hornets - he's a small forward as well as an efficient scorer. He posted an effective field goal percentage of almost 56% in his rookie season, as well as keeping his turnovers to a low 10.7%. That's pretty much where his game ends, however - he's a poor rebounder, has a low assist rate, and doesn't appear to be particularly active on the defensive end.

To get Copeland to sign the offer sheet, the Hornets will probably have to offer significantly more than the $3.1M per year the Knicks are going to be able to offer him. You have to ask, however: is a 29-year-old player entering his second year worth a $16M, 4-year contract?

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