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Scott Lev/NHLI via Getty Images NEW YORK (AP) — Derek Stepan is back in the fold with the New York Rangers, agreeing to a two-year contract that should have him back on the ice in time for the season opener. Negotiations had been tense in recent days as the sides worked on a deal to get the restricted free-agent forward signed and into training camp. A contract was finally worked out Thursday, one week before the Rangers start the regular season at Phoenix. The 23-year-old Stepan, expected to be the Rangers’ No. 1 center, led the team with 44 points last season and was second to Rick Nash with 18 goals while playing all 48 games of the lockout-shortened campaign. He had been seeking $3.5 million per season, while the Rangers were offering around $3 million. The new deal is for a total of $6.15 million – $2.3 million this season and $3.85 million in 2014-15. Signing Stepan was a critical move for the Rangers, who are starting the season under new coach Alain Vigneault without captain Ryan Callahan and speedy winger Carl Hagelin – both recovering from shoulder operations. Stepan set career highs last season with a plus-25 rating and six game-winning goals. He tied his high with four power-play goals. Stepan went over the 40-point mark for the third straight season, tying for the NHL lead with four short-handed points. In 12 playoff games, Stepan had a career-best four goals – including winners in Games 3 and 4 of New York’s first-round victory over Washington. In 212 regular-season NHL games overall, Stepan has 56 goals and 140 points.

Why New York Knicks Fans Should Be Concerned About Latest Front Office Shakeup

A growing local economy and civil servants who work through different administrations will help tackle the fiscal challenges, said Clark Wagner, fixed-income director at First Investors Management Co. in New York. New York will be able to grow its way out of some of these issues, said Wagner, whose firm manages $1.5 billion of municipal debt. The city has an incredibly professional and experienced set of managers who are not going to change because of the election. Voting Battle Democrat Bill de Blasio, 52, the citys public advocate, faces Republican Joseph Lhota, 58, a top aide to former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani , in a battle to lead the city of 8.3 million. Bloomberg, an independent who is founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP, is legally barred from seeking a fourth term. New York is selling into the biggest rally for muni debt since 2012 after the Federal Reserve delayed plans to reduce its monthly bond purchases. The New York issue offered preliminary yields of 4.18 percent on 20-year debt, according to three people familiar with the sale who requested anonymity because pricing wasnt final. That was 0.31 percentage point more than benchmark munis, down from 0.72 percentage point in July. First Investors may buy some of the bonds, Wagner said. Moodys Investors Service and Standard & Poors assess New York two steps below top-rated bonds, after both companies raised the rating three times during Bloombergs tenure. New York had about $40 billion of debt as of June 30, compared with about $29 billion in June 2002, bond documents show.

On July 10th, Grunwald traded three players (Marcus Camby, Steve Novak and Quentin Richardson), a first-round pick and two second-round picks to the Toronto Raptors (i.e. his former employer) in exchange for Andrea Bargnani. That’s the same Andrea Bargnani who’s missed a whopping 98 games over the past three seasons while shooting a subpar 32.3 percent from three. The same guy who, at seven feet tall, has pulled down just 4.8 rebounds per game and has never averaged more than 6.2 boards over the course of a given season. The same guy who’ll earn upwards of $23 million in salary over the next two seasons combined. Though the Knicks dug themselves a bit deeper into a hole of financial inflexibility to bring Bargnani aboard, there is some hope that the towering Italian can at least be useful in New York. Nobody’s expecting him to be a star, as they were in Toronto after he was taken No. 1 overall in 2006. Rather, if Bargnani can simply spread the floor with his three-point shooting and be something less than a total liability on the defensive end, he’ll have justified his existence in the Big Apple. Still, it appears Grunwald got fleeced by his Raptors counterpart, Masai Ujiri. You might’ve said the same about Grunwald in the aftermath of JR Smith signing his new deal. According to Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck (then with The New York Times ), the Knicks offered Smith a four-year, $24.5 million dealand eventually signed him to a three-year pact worth just under $18 milliondespite knowing full well that the reigning Sixth Man of the Year would likely require offseason surgery. Mere days after re-signing, Smith underwent two procedures on his knee. Smith’s current 12-to-16-week recovery timelinecould force the eccentric swingman to miss the entirety of training camp and part of the regular season. Ron Hoskins/Getty Images Stranger still was the way Grunwald handled the flow of information regarding JR.