Throwing a wrench in the Orlando Magic's free-agent plans, Chris Duhon has agreed to a two-year deal with the New York Knicks, reports Sean Deveney of Sports Illustrated. Deveney's source reports that the deal is worth the full mid-level exception, which is considerably more than the Magic were willing to offer.
Orlando will now likely turn its attention to Keyon Dooling, who has come off the bench to play both backcourt positions for the Magic in the last three seasons. A New York Post report earlier today, before Duhon's signing was announced, said Dooling was indeed the Magic's "fallback plan" in the event Duhon signed with New York.
I was never thrilled with the idea of the Magic replacing Dooling with Duhon, so this news comes as a relief to me. But if the Magic are unable to retain Dooling -- at least six other teams have contacted him -- they will have no other choice but to target shaky veterans like Jason Williams or Anthony Carter to back-up incumbent point guard Jameer Nelson. More likely, they'll wait to see what swingman Corey Maggette, the biggest remaining prize in this year's free-agent market, does before making an offer to anyone else at any position.
UPDATE: John Denton's version of the story includes reaction from Keyon Dooling:
"No, (the Magic) haven't given me an offer yet, but it is what it is," Dooling said Friday. "I've gotten a lot of interest, but what's interest without an offer. It's like a Catch-22.
"I understand that it's still young in the free-agent process and some of the bigger names have to go before I do. But I do think Duhon going (to New York) clears up some things for me (with Orlando)."
Aside: Denton also notes that Jameer Nelson will get married tomorrow, and that Dooling will be part of the ceremony. Congratulations, Jameer.
Other teams interested in Dooling include Miami, which won't offer a contract longer than two years, and Golden State, which needs to replace Baron Davis. I suspect Denver is in the mix as well, although apparently it prefers to sign Carlos Arroyo.
UPDATE: One final, interesting detail, this one from Brian Schmitz:
Bradbury [Kevin Bradbury, Duhon's agent] said Duhon himself called Magic General Manager Otis Smith to tell him he signed with the Knicks.
Huh. Nice guy, that Chris Duhon.