The New York Knicks handed Phil Jackson a cool $60 million to turn their franchise from nothing into something, and the team president is reportedly trying to do the same with slumping point guard Raymond Felton.
Jackson reportedly told Felton he will be dealt over the offseason during the team's exit meetings, according to a source from Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv.
"Raymond has been told he will be moved this offseason," the source said.
Reaching this decision is the easy part for Jackson. Felton, 29, had the wrong kind of career year this season.
Slowed by hamstring and groin injuries that cost him 17 games, Felton set new personal lows in scoring (9.7), player efficiency rating (12.9) and true shooting percentage (47.6), via Basketball-Reference.com. His 111 defensive rating was tied for second-worst among Knicks regulars, a group overflowing with matador defenders.
Off the hardwood, Felton had even bigger problems. In February, he was arrested and arraigned on two felony weapons charges. He's due back in court on June 2.
If the on-court struggles and legal issues weren't enough, he still has a $3.7 million salary for 2014-15 and a $3.9 million player option for the following season, via ShamSports.com.
In other words, there's a reason Jackson is looking to move New York's incumbent floor general. Several of them, in fact.
The problem is, those reasons are the same ones likely to keep potential trade partners away. NBA writer and Bleacher Report contributor Jared Dubin points out one of the most significant hurdles:
The problem with Phil Jackson wanting to trade Ray Felton is that there has to be a different GM that wants to trade for Ray Felton.— Jared Dubin (@JADubin5) May 16, 2014
New York tried to move Felton "on several occasions" before the Feb. 20 trade deadline, according to Frank Isola of the New York Daily News, but nothing ever materialized. It's hard to imagine Felton raised his stock in the 27 games since by posting 9.0 points per game on 38.8 percent shooting.
Short on potential sweeteners to facilitate a trade (young talent, draft considerations), New York's first-time executive may soon discover what failed dieters have known for years: Wanting to trim fat is far easier than doing it.
"Good luck trading Felton—especially without draft picks to convince another team to take him," Dan Feldman of NBC Sports wrote. "The NBA’s other 29 general managers aren’t suckers."
After missing out on his top (that is, only) option to replace Mike Woodson—Steve Kerr—Jackson's return to the Big Apple has gotten off to a rough start. Dangling trade bait that appeals to no one isn't likely to change that. Burning a bridge with what could be this team's starting point guard next season could make things even worse.
Unless, of course, the Zen Master finds a miracle deal for Felton. In that case, the executive would justify every last penny on his $60 million contract.