Seven-foot center Jerome Jordan has agreed "in principle" to a contract with the Knicks, interim general manager Glen Grunwald said on Monday.
Jordan was in Knicks camp on Monday but could not participate in practice. Grunwald said the Knicks, Jordan and Jordan's European club need to work out "administrative" issues before Jordan can take the floor.
Grunwald expects Jordan to begin practicing "in the next few days."
"We finished negotiating and it’s just a matter of getting all the administrative work done for his buyout from his European team, his Slovenian team [Krka]," Grunwald said. ".... So he should be in camp in a couple days or so, hopefully. Assuming everything goes well."
Before he can practice with the Knicks, Jordan needs to sign a letter of clearance with his European club, according to his agent, Todd Ramasar.
The Jamaican product also needs to acquire a working visa (though he may be able to practice without one) and finalize the details of his Knicks contract.
"He’s very excited to start his career in the NBA and to be with a team like the Knicks," Ramasar said by phone on Saturday night. "He understands it's a business and there's a certain expectation with the Knicks, and that's to win a championship."
The Knicks acquired the 7-foot center in a 2010 draft night trade with the Milwaukee Bucks for $500,000. The Bucks had drafted Jordan with the 44th pick.
After the draft, Jordan decided to play overseas to improve his game, signing with the Serbian club KK Hemofarm for the 2010–11 season.
The former Tulsa standout averaged 7.8 points and 3.8 rebounds in 15 minutes for KK Hemofarm.
Due to the lockout, he chose to return to Europe again this season. Jordan averaged 12 points and five rebounds in just 22 minutes per game for Slovenian squad Krka. He has bounced back well from a bout of appendicitis, which he suffered through last spring.
Knicks European scout Misho Ostarcevic monitored Jordan's play in Europe and told team brass in New York that he's ready to contribute in an NBA game.
Said Grunwald: "He’s going to get his opportunity and if he works and plays hard he’ll get a chance. But he is right now a prospect that we’re hopeful will one day develop into a player."
Unlike most NBA players coming off of the five-month lockout, Jordan should hit the floor in game shape. It will be interesting to see where he fits in at center with veteran Jared Jeffries slated to come off the bench to spell Tyson Chandler. Second-round draft pick Josh Harrellson, a 6-10, 275-pound center from Kentucky, will also be considered as a candidate to backup to Chandler.
"We’ll evaluate him and see if we can get him up to where we think he can contribute," Mike D'Antoni said. "I think it’s better for him and better for us to know sooner than later."
Proposed terms of the deal were not available. Grunwald said on Monday that the Knicks have the $2.5 million cap exception at their disposal.
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