New York Knicks: Dan Gadzuric

Notes: Woodson watching Amare on D

April, 20, 2012
4/20/12
7:32
PM ET
CLEVELAND -- Coach Mike Woodson said he expects Amare Stoudemire, returning from a 13-game absence with a back injury, to get back into the offensive rhythm Friday night.

While the Knicks will certainly benefit from Stoudemire's 17.6 ppg scoring average, it's the forward's defense that will have Woodson's attention.

"His movement, how he's alert defensively, that's my big concern," Woodson said. "I'm more concerned about five guys out on the floor, helping one another defend and rebound the ball. I think offensively, we'll figure it out."

Stoudemire will be the default second scoring option behind Carmelo Anthony as Woodson tries to work Stoudemire back into the rotation.

"I think everybody's excited about it," Woodson said. "He's like a new little kid, just happy to be back in uniform. I think winning does that to a team and players. You start to win and everybody starts to grow and bond together."

Davis late scratch: PG Baron Davis, who missed Wednesday's game with a stomach virus, was a game-time scratch with the same symptoms. Mike Bibby will start in place of Davis, along with Anthony, Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler and Iman Shumpert.

Shumper -- "Rook," as his coach refers to him -- will remain in the starting lineup primarily because of his defense.

"I just think [Shumpert] brings a defensive presence," Woodson said. "With Baron having his health struggles, it enables us to put Rook on the point guard and put more heat on the ball."

Gadzuric on board: The Knicks signed 34-year-old Dan Gadzuric on Friday and Woodson was unsure whether the veteran center would see any minutes in his debut.

"Right now, we gotta get him acclimated to what we're doing," Woodson said.

Gadzuric played in China and then most recently in the D-League for the Texas Legends. Gadzuric lost to current Knick J.R. Smith when the two players met in China.

"I was always ready," Gadzuric said of returning to the NBA. "I got an opportunity to come here and play for the Knicks and I'm very stoked, excited, and ready to go."

Rapid Reaction: Knicks sign Dan Gadzuric

April, 20, 2012
4/20/12
6:23
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WHAT IT MEANS: Backup center Jared Jeffries said Friday afternoon on ESPN New York 1050's "Ruocco & Lundberg" show that he'll be fine come playoff time. But likely because his right knee is still causing him pain right now, limiting his minutes to not even 10 per night -- even forcing him out of the Nets game on Wednesday -- the Knicks went out and signed free agent Dan Gadzuric.

Jeffries is a supporter of the move.

"I think bringing in [Dan] is a good thing because anytime you can have big bodies in the playoffs is a good thing," he said.

Gadzuric is more than a big stationary body at 6-11, 240 pounds. He's very active around the basket and is aggressive on the boards, which is something the Knicks need, especially looking ahead to a potential first-round matchup with the Bulls -- the best rebounding team in the league. The Heat also pose a threat, too, in that department. In fact, during his radio show appearance today, when Jeffries was asked which player on the Bulls and Heat he was most concerned about as an individual opponent, he said Taj Gibson and Chris Bosh, respectively. Why? Because of their rebounding.

Gadzuric also has the speed and awareness to get out and run, and with Mike Woodson preaching change of pace lately -- the Knicks are at times too halfcourt-oriented -- the new center should be able to start and finish plays on the fastbreak. Don't expect many minutes at all from Gadzuric, but his three previous years in the playoffs (2004, '06 and '10) will come in handy when Woodson needs a seasoned banger.

THE FILE: Gadzuric holds career averages of 4.7 points (on 50.0 percent shooting), 4.4 rebounds, 0.85 blocks and 14.8 minutes in 525 games (164 starts) over nine NBA seasons with the Bucks, Warriors and Nets. This past season, he appeared in 12 games for the Texas Legends of the NBA D-League, averaging 12.0 points (on 53.1 percent shooting), 11.3 rebounds and 1.00 blocks in 25.7 minutes.

You can follow Jared Zwerling on Twitter.

Knicks sign Gadzuric, waive Walker

April, 20, 2012
4/20/12
6:02
PM ET
It's official: The Knicks have signed veteran big man Dan Gadzuric, the team announced late Friday afternoon. To make room, they waived Bill Walker.

Gadzuric, 34, will provide some insurance for the Knicks, who are without Jared Jeffries for the time being. Jeffries is dealing with a right knee injury, the same ailment that has bothered him for most of the past two months.

Interim coach Mike Woodson told reporters in Cleveland that Jeffries may rest for the rest of the regular season.

Gadzuric, 6-11, 240-pounds, holds career averages of 4.7 points, 4.4 rebounds, 0.85 blocks and 14.8 minutes in 525 games (164 starts). He appeared in 12 games for Texas Legends of the NBA Development League this season, averaging 12.0 points, on .531 shooting, 11.3 rebounds and 1.00 block over 25.7 minutes.

The former second-round pick will eligible for the postseason.

Walker averaged 5.9 points, 2.5 rebounds and 19.4 minutes over 32 games (eight starts) this season for New York. He was out for five weeks with a left elbow injury.

The Knicks originally acquired Walker from Boston, with Eddie House and J.R. Giddens, in exchange for Nate Robinson and Marcus Landry on Feb. 18, 2010.

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

Amare back, Gadzuric added

April, 20, 2012
4/20/12
12:33
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Amare Stoudemire will return to the New York Knicks on Friday night after a nearly month-long absence due to a back injury. Stoudemire will start against the Cleveland Cavaliers, interim coach Mike Woodson said.

"Don't know how many minutes I'll play him, just kind of gauge it as we go along. It's good to have him back," Woodson said after Friday's shootaround.

Stoudemire has missed 13 games due to a bulging lower disk in his back.

The Knicks are 9-4 in Stoudemire's absence and clinched a playoff berth for the second straight season when the Milwaukee Bucks lost to the Indiana Pacers on Thursday.

"We just thought about when would be a good time to get a few games under my belt and we figured tonight would be a good start," Stoudemire said, adding that he doesn't feel any pain in his back. "We did a great job of just attacking the injury and making sure everything around the injury is secure."

Carmelo Anthony had been starting at power forward in place of Stoudemire and will move back to small forward. Shooting guard Landry Fields, who has been struggling of late, will come off the bench while rookie guard Iman Shumpert remains in the starting lineup.

The Knicks hope that Stoudemire can provide a consistent second scoring option that they've lacked at times in his absence.

Stoudemire was shooting around 40 percent from the field and averaging 17 points -- well below his career averages. Before he went down with the back ailment, Stoudemire was averaging 18 points on 57 percent shooting in the five games before his injury.

In other developments, the Knicks are expected to add big man Dan Gadzuric to the roster. Gadzuric traveled with the team to Cleveland. With Jared Jeffries out with a sore right knee, the Knicks need depth in the second unit. Jeffries is expected to rest until the start of the playoffs to try to heal his right knee, which has been bothering him for the past two months.

Small forward Bill Walker will be waived to make room on the roster for Gadzuric. The 34-year-old, nine-year veteran is expected to be eligible for the playoffs.

Information from ESPNNewYork's Ian Begley was used in this report.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Carmelo Anthony
PTS AST STL MIN
27.4 3.1 1.2 38.7
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsC. Anthony 8.1
AssistsP. Prigioni 3.5
StealsI. Shumpert 1.2
BlocksA. Bargnani 1.2