By Ivan Carter
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, July 28, 2006; 6:06 PM
The New York Knicks signed restricted free agent guard/forward Jared Jeffries to an offer sheet this afternoon, according to NBA sources.
The Washington Wizards will have seven days to decide whether to match the offer. Team owner Abe Pollin, president of basketball operations Ernie Grunfeld and coach Eddie Jordan have all indicated a desire to retain Jeffries.
Terms of the offer sheet were not available. Jeffries has long been coveted by Isiah Thomas, New York president of basketball operations and head coach. Like Jeffries, Thomas starred at Indiana University.
The Wizards have 13 players under contract after the recent signing of free agent forward Darius Songaila to a five-year, $21 million contract, and have room under the NBA's luxury tax threshold to match the offer to Jeffries, according to sources.
Pollin has indicated that he is willing to spend up to, but not over, the luxury tax threshold $65.4 million. Teams with payrolls over the threshold pay a dollar-for-dollar penalty to the league on the amount of payroll that exceeds $65.4 million.
The most likely scenario, according to sources, is that the Wizards will use the full seven days before matching the offer sheet to retain Jeffries.
Jeffries was drafted by the Wizards with the 11th overall pick in 2002 and has posted averages of 6.1 points and 4.8 rebounds in four seasons while carving out a role as perhaps the team's best all-around defender.