Knicks waive Kurt Thomas

Updated: April 12, 2013, 9:57 PM ET
By Ian Begley | Special to ESPNNewYork.com

NEW YORK -- The Knicks have waived veteran forward Kurt Thomas to clear a roster spot for free-agent big man Solomon Jones, the team announced on Friday.

The Knicks signed Jones shortly before Friday night's game against Cleveland. Jones is eligible to suit up for the Knicks against the Cavs and will take Thomas' roster spot.

Due to a recent rash of injuries to the Knicks' front line, the team decided to release Thomas to create room for a healthy big man. The 40-year-old Thomas suffered an acute stress reaction in his right foot in mid-March and had been inactive for the past 12 games.

"We thank Kurt for all that he has done," Knicks general manager Glen Grunwald said in a statement released by the team. "I have the utmost respect for Kurt as a player and as a man."

Thomas provided a huge lift for the Knicks in his last game of the season. Playing with a major injury in his right foot, Thomas scored six points and grabbed three rebounds in New York's win in Utah. The victory on March 18 snapped a four-game losing streak and was the first of 13 straight wins for the Knicks.

Many players credited Thomas' performance against the Jazz as a key to their winning streak.

"Kurt's contributions to the Knicks have been immeasurable," Grunwald said. "From the first day of training camp, to his last game against the Utah Jazz, Kurt has been a key contributor to our team.

"The team's success this season has been driven by veteran leadership on and off the court -- it is something that cannot be quantified or read in a box score."

An MRI of Thomas' foot taken the day after the Utah game revealed an acute stress reaction. The team had hoped that Thomas could return sometime during the postseason. But with Tyson Chandler (neck), Kenyon Martin (ankle) and Marcus Camby (foot) sidelined by injury, the team could not afford to wait for Thomas.

The Knicks had agreed in principle to a deal with free-agent forward James Singleton on Wednesday. Singleton was in Chicago on Thursday preparing to join the Knicks, but the deal fell through because of a procedural issue with Singleton's team in the Chinese Basketball Association, according to a league source. Singleton could not gain clearance through the FIBA to leave the Chinese Basketball Association and join the Knicks. There is a chance that the Knicks could still agree to terms with Singleton, but nothing is imminent.

So the Knicks turned their attention to Jones on Friday.

Jones most recently played in the Chinese Basketball Association with Liaoning. The 6-foot-10 Jones played in the NBA in 2011-12 with the New Orleans Hornets and Los Angeles Clippers. Jones will be eligible for the Knicks' postseason roster.

Thomas' future is unclear. The 18-year veteran recently expressed interest in playing next season.

He played seven seasons with the Knicks between 1998 and 2005. Thomas was a key contributor to the Knicks teams that reached back-to-back Eastern Conference finals in 1999 and 2000. He currently ranks ninth on the franchise's all-time rebounding list with 4,272 caroms and 15th in games played with 569 appearances.

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