By Chris Sheridan
In an effort to ratchet up the humor content in this blog, I invite your comments on how Jim Dolan should spend the $500,000 that Donnie Walsh saved him in the draft night trade with Milwaukee for the rights to 7-foot-1 Tulsa center Jerome Jordan.
Many teams had been asking for a minimum of $1.5 million for a second-rounder, and on Monday Portland paid the astronomical sum (by historical standards) of $2 million just to exchange the 44th pick for the 34th.
Walsh paid the Bucks $1 million for that very same 44th pick, and word of the deal did not surface until this morning. (Alan Hahn of Newsday had the first news of the trade, and I filled in many of the blanks in this news story). I am now on pins and needles wondering whether Professor Chad Ford will revise the 'D' that he gave the Knicks in grading how all 30 NBA teams did on draft night (Insider).
I have one other pertinent morning-after observation after spending last night in Greenburgh at the Knicks' facility.
Walsh had been saying a month ago that he was interested in buying into the late first round of the draft, but it was the Dallas Mavericks who ended up being the only team to purchase a pick, acquiring from Memphis the rights to the 25th pick, Dominique Jones of South Florida, one of the top scorers in the nation last season.
I asked Walsh on Thursday night why he had undergone such a change of heart on buying into the first round, and he said he wanted to preserve every bit of cap space he could. (Buying the 25th pick would have eaten up about $700,000 of cap room).
And since the Knicks should have $2-3 million in leftover cap room, even if they sign two max free agents at starting salaries of $16.5 million, my educated guess is this: There are saving some money to make a respectable offer to Earl Barron, who was the Knicks' center for the final seven games of the regular season (he had two double-doubles, including 17 points and 18 rebounds in a win over Boston on April 6).
The Knicks signed Barron to a 10-day contract April 2, and a contract for the remainder of the season on April 12. At the time, I asked Walsh why he hadn't signed Barron to a make-good contract for the 2010-11 season (similar to what the Bulls had done with Rob Kurz, and the Celtics with Tony Gaffney and Oliver Lafayette).
Walsh said he would have liked to, but only at the veteran's minimum. Barron declined, his advisors believing he might be able to do better on the open market.
Once the smoke clears in early July and we know what the Knicks have spent their max money on, it'll be interesting to see whether any of the leftover dough is earmarked for Barron. Let's face it, the Knicks haven't had any size since Patrick Ewing left, unless you want to count Nazr Mohammed and/or Slavko Vranes.
Barron and Jordan would give them two legit 7-footers.