- Ian Begley, ESPN Staff Writer
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Knicks GM Glen Grunwald said free agent power forward Kenyon Martin is getting the Knicks' "full consideration" as they fill out their roster.
The Knicks have ten players under contract (including C.J. Leslie, who has a partially guaranteed deal) so Grunwald has five roster spots to fill.
He said the Knicks are looking for third point guard and big man in free agency. League sources also say the Knicks have been pursuing shooters on the free agent market.
One big man available is the 35-year-old Martin. The Knicks signed Martin to a veteran's minimum contract shortly after the trade deadline last season and Martin gave New York a needed presence around the basket.
Martin averaged 7.2 points and 5.3 rebounds in 29.3 minutes last year.
The Knicks, according to ESPNNewYork.com's Jared Zwerling, were preparing to make an offer for free agent big man Elton Brand. Brand, a source told Zwerling, has since made it clear that he will not sign with the Knicks.
One league source says Brand was not interested in playing for the Knicks on a veteran's minimum contract.
It is unclear if Martin would accept an offer of a veteran's minimum contract. The Knicks can also offer Martin a contract starting at $1.75 million via the taxpayers exception.
"Kenyon had a great year with us and we were very thankful for all he gave to us last year," Grunwald said on a conference call Thursday. "We're evaluating our options in that regard and certainly key on is getting our full consideration as we look at what options we have."
Grunwald said the Knicks would like to see Iman Shumpert play point guard in summer league. If Shumpert plays well at point guard, they may shy away from pursuing a lead guard in free agency.
"We're working towards filling out the rest of the roster," Grunwald said. "Maybe we might want to hold open a roster spot or two to go into training camp to have a player come in like Chris Copeland did last year and earn a spot and make a name for himself. So we still have some flexibility."
Speaking of Copeland, Grunwald said retaining the free-agent forward was a "priority", but the Knicks could not match the two-year $6 million offer the Pacers made to Copeland.
New York was unable to match the deal because it used part of its tax payers' exception to re-sign Pablo Prigioni to a three-year deal starting at $1.5 million.
"We liked Chris, we would have liked to bring him back, but the new CBA restricts teams that are in the taxes to what they can do," Grunwald said. "So we had to make a decision. It was a tough one. But we decided to go in another direction than re-signing Chris. Credit to Chris for going out and earning that. I wish him great success going forward."
ANDREA AND AMAR'E? Grunwald was asked on Thursday if Amar'e Stoudemire could share the floor with recently acquired Andrea Bargnani. Maybe Grunwald was being politically correct when he said that playing Stoudemire and Bargnani together -- two players known for their defensive struggles -- was a possibility. (If he'd said that they wouldn't be on the floor together, it would have created a stir.)
Anyway, here's what Grunwald said in response to the question about Stoudemire and Bargnani sharing the floor: "We think that he can play with Andrea. It'll give coach Woodson an opportunity to go big or small. We've got two very versatile players with Amar'e's improvement in his post game this past season -- and we expect him to continue to do that. The offensive ability of those two players is outstanding, Again, we think it will cause other teams difficulties as they try to match up with us."
Mike Woodson confirmed to reporters in Las Vegas that Stoudemire will play with a minutes restriction this season due to his history of troubling knee ailments. Woodson did not specify the minutes restriction, but Stoudemire likely will be limited in the second game of back to backs and may not be available for more than 20 minutes a night.
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5hSteve Ilardi and Jeremias Engelmann