HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — You’re either playing checkers or chess this time of year in free agency. And the Toronto Raptors are clearly trying to play the latter.
There’s no other way to explain the three-year, $20 million offer sheet they’ve extended to Knicks swingman Landry Fields, per ESPN.com‘s Marc Stein.
Fields is a necessary means to an end for the Raptors, who are also battling with the Knicks and others for the signature of two-time MVP Steve Nash. By extending the offer sheet to Fields, a deal that reportedly includes a spike in the third year of the deal, the Raptors will try to force the Knicks into making a choice.
The Raptors have already offered Nash a three-year, $36 million deal. The Knicks were trying to work out a complex sign-and-trade with the Suns that would have included the Knicks getting Nash and the Suns getting Fields (Knicks point guard Iman Shumpert, a source confirmed to NBA.com this afternoon, would have to replace Fields now in any potential sign and trade deal).
The Knicks would have to make a commitment to match the offer to fields, eliminating the possibility of trading him until a moratorium of three months ended, to control his rights. That would in turn squash whatever plans they had cooked up to work a sign-and-trade to get Nash.
On the flip side, if the Raptors were to come get an agreement on terms from Nash and have to pay Fields, they’d be on the hook for a cool $56 million for the both of them.