According to the Daily News, Fred Jones may have earned himself a roster spot.
It sounds impossible but Jones already may have pulled it off. Last week, Isiah Thomas provided an unsolicited status report on Jones when he said, “Don’t plan on him going anywhere anytime soon.”
Thomas made the comment Friday, the day Allan Houston reported to training camp. Houston and Demetris Nichols, the aforementioned draft pick from Syracuse, are both trying to make a roster that already includes the maximum 15 guaranteed contracts. For weeks, it was generally assumed that Jones, portrayed as a throw-in in the Zach Randolph trade, would be the odd man out.
But Jones’ relationship with Thomas goes back to their Indiana Pacer days and there is something to be said for being an “Isiah guy.” Just ask Knicks VP of basketball operations Glen Grunwald or assistant coaches Brendan Suhr and Mark Aguirre.
“He gave me my shot,” Jones said following yesterday’s practice in Greenburgh. “Leaving Portland was a little difficult for me because that’s my home city. But it eased the pain knowing I was coming to a familiar situation.”
Thomas sees the 6-4 Jones as a defensive stopper who can play either shooting guard or small forward. Of course, the Knicks envisioned Jared Jeffries as a defensive specialist last season but that never panned out. In order for the 6-2 Jones to crack the rotation he would cost somebody – Jeffries, Quentin Richardson, Nate Robinson – minutes. But on a team that struggled to defend on the perimeter, Jones could find a spot.
“He’s a tough defender,” Thomas said. “In this league you have to be able to stop people.”
“When I came into this league I probably wasn’t the greatest defender,” said Jones, who spent last season with the Raptors and Trail Blazers. “I knew that was my calling card to get on the floor. I take pride in that now. That’s something I’m looking forward to bringing to this team.”
Additionally the Knicks cut Roderick Wilmont. So the roster is so far:
Very likely (10)
|32||Renaldo Balkman||F||6-8||208||Jul. 14, 1984||South Carolina||1|
|11||Jamal Crawford||G||6-5||200||Mar. 20, 1980||Michigan||7|
|34||Eddy Curry||C||6-11||285||Dec. 5, 1982||Thornwood HS (IL)||6|
|42||David Lee||F||6-9||240||Apr. 29, 1983||Florida||2|
|3||Stephon Marbury||G||6-2||205||Feb. 20, 1977||Georgia Tech||11|
|50||Zach Randolph||F||6-9||260||Jul. 16, 1981||Michigan State||6|
|23||Quentin Richardson||G/F||6-6||235||Apr. 13, 1980||DePaul||7|
|20||Jared Jeffries||F||6-11||240||Nov. 25, 1981||Indiana||5|
|25||Mardy Collins||G||6-6||220||Aug. 4, 1984||Temple||1|
Of course, if anyone isn’t going to make the team from this group, it will be the last 2. This leaves 5 spots open, 2 more roster spot and 3 inactive spots from the following players.
|2||Fred Jones||G||6-2||225||Mar. 11, 1979||Oregon||5|
|5||Randolph Morris||C/F||6-11||260||Jan. 2, 1986||Kentucky||1|
|31||Malik Rose||F||6-7||255||Nov. 23, 1974||Drexel||11|
|1||Jared Jordan||G||6-2||190||Oct. 14, 1984||Marist||1|
|35||Demetris Nichols||G/F||6-8||215||Sep. 4, 1984||Syracuse||R|
|13||Jerome James||C||7-1||285||Nov. 17, 1975||Florida A&M||8|
|6||Walker Russell, Jr.||G||6-1||170||Oct. 6, 1982||Jacksonville State||R|
Let’s assume Jones is in. Also let’s assume that Isiah won’t cut Chandler or Morris. Walker Russell’s father works for the Knicks, so he’s probably there due to nepotism and little else. So there remains only 2 spots left for Rose, James, Nichols, Jordan, and Houston. Isiah has to make a tough(?) decision on whether or not to buy out his veterans (Rose/James) or cut his rookies (Nichols/Jordan). He could possibly hold onto Jordan by sending him overseas, but he still has to decide between Nichols or one of his vets. And even after all that, Isiah has to decide who will stay on the active roster, and who (if anyone) he might send to the