As expected, Jim Dolan’s wallet opened up in the second round of Thursday night’s NBA draft.
The Knicks purchased the 45th overall pick from the New Orleans Hornets and selected Kentucky center Josh Harrellson, adding some depth to a position where they have their greatest need.
A league source said the Knicks paid between $700,000 and $750,000 for the pick, a relative bargain given that they spent $1 million last year to acquire the rights to the 44th pick, Jerome Jordan, from the Milwaukee Bucks.
Harrellson, 6-foot-10 and 275-pounds, averaged 8.7 rebounds last season for the Wildcats. He was considered a marginal second-round pick after withdrawing from the Portsmouth Invitational because of flu-like symptoms, but the Knicks must have liked what they saw of him in the NCAA tournament when Harrellson shot 78 percent from the field and averaged 15 points and nine rebounds in helping Kentucky reach the final four.
Harrellson became Kentucky’s starting center by default after Enes Kanter was ruled ineligible by the NCAA a year after DeMarcus Cousins and Daniel Orton left school early to declare for the NBA draft.