- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 29, 2006

The New York Knicks yesterday tendered their mid-level exception to Washington Wizards restricted free agent Jared Jeffries, according to league sources in New York and Washington, leaving the Wizards seven days to match the offer, which is believed to be somewhere in the range of $30 million for five years.

While the Wizards have indicated they would match any offer Jeffries received, there were those yesterday who believed the team might let Jeffries walk for financial reasons.

The Knicks’ offer, which is believed to be about $5.4 million the first year, would put the Wizards dangerously close to the luxury tax threshold of $65.4 million.

For the same reason, it is strange the Knicks would make such a deal. Because they are already subject to the luxury tax — which requires teams to pay a dollar for each dollar over the threshold — Jeffries would cost New York essentially $10.8 million this season, close to what the Wizards will pay superstar Gilbert Arenas, at slightly more than $11 million.

Should Jeffries land with the Knicks, he would play for long-time acquaintance Isiah Thomas, who, like Jeffries, attended Indiana.

“He’s ecstatic to have the opportunity to play with a legendary player and confidante whom he has had a relationship with since he was 12 years old,” Jeffries’ agent, Andy Miller, said.

As of last night, Wizards president of basketball operations Ernie Grunfeld said he had not seen the Knicks’ offer sheet.

“We have not received an offer sheet,” Grunfeld said. “And if or when we do we will have a week to explore all of our options and determine our course of action.”

The 6-foot-11 Jeffries, who turns 25 in November, averaged 6.4 points and 4.9 rebounds in 77 games last season.

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