As the New York Knicks attempt to navigate the various potential pitfalls, their collection of restricted free agents presents, the Toronto Raptors added another obstacle to the team's path toward roster stability today.
The Raptors inked Knicks shooting guard Landry Fields to an offer sheet.
The offer sheet is a placeholder, and if the Knicks are determined to bring Fields back, they are well within their rights to match the offer, and keep him, provided they do so within three days.
That works if the Knicks are open to paying Fields upwards of $20 million for three years, and only if the Knicks are matching the offer with the intention of actually playing him. Due to the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Knicks can't match the offer for Fields, and then use him as part of a sign-and-trade deal with Phoenix to acquire Steve Nash.
If the Knicks match the offer then Fields stays, but any hope the Knicks had of landing Steve Nash is probably gone.
Of course if the Knicks decide to let Fields walk then their chances of acquiring Nash are probably dashed as well. Fields was a player that Phoenix was rumored to have interest in if they could put together a sign-and-trade with New York.
Any plan the Knicks had to bring in Nash and allow Lin to be mentored by the older, more experienced former MVP point guard is probably no longer feasible.
Now the Knicks, who were rumored to be hesitant to match a back-loaded free-agent offer sheet to Lin, may be forced to do so, regardless of how it impacts the team down the road.
For Lin, this may mean any thoughts he had that he could end up as a second-string point guard in New York next season are probably worth forgetting.
Allowing Nash to run the team short-term might not have been the easiest pill for Lin to swallow, but it would have made sense.
There really aren't any other point guards left on the market who would be significant enough upgrades over Lin for New York to entertain thoughts of moving him back to the bench.
That leaves point guards such as Raymond Felton, who was already reported to be a contingency plan if the Knicks felt like acquiring Nash was not going to happen.
That's where the Knicks stand now that Fields has been inked to a fairly large offer sheet, which is thought to include a decent-sized raise in the third, and final year.
Landry Fields being wooed by the Raptors might not have a positive impact on the Knicks as a team.
For Jeremy Lin, who was already thought of as a critical part of the Knicks future, he may now be even more crucial in lieu of Fields potential departure.