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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

NY Daily News: Knicks Sign Foward James Singleton

Frank Isola of the Daily News is reporting that the Knicks have reached a deal with free agent forward James Singleton.

As a result, Knick power forward Kurt Thomas will be released to make room for Singleton. Thomas will now have surgery on his injured foot. It seems likely that the Knicks waited until it was clear that Thomas would not be able to return to playing this year before they made this move. As we suspected, Thomas’ classic performance against Utah will, in fact, be his last game as a Knick (and likely the last game of his career). He almost certainly will be offered some sort of job with the team. He’s definitely been one of the most memorable and well-regarded Knicks of the past two decades. Let us hope that the Knicks can have his final season end with him receiving a championship ring.

The Singleton deal is likely also one of Grunwald’s patented “sign a guy for the rest of the season with a non-guaranteed contract option for next year and then trade him in the offseason to a team that wants to cut payroll and would deal a useful player for the ability to just release the traded player and get his salary taken off of the books” deals. I have to imagine that the NBA will soon try to close that loophole. Until they do, though, Grunwald is once again smartly exploiting it.

As for this season, I would guess that Singleton is purely front court depth. However, last season he actually played really well for the Washington Wizards at the end of the season after playing two years in China. At the end of the season, the Wizards hedged on bringing him back and he chose to take the definite money he was offered from China. Singleton is the type of guy who has improved his game year after year after going undrafted early in his professional basketball career (his strong play in Italy in 2004, where he played with former Knick Danilo Gallinari, got him to the NBA in the first place). Here is Singleton talking about himself last season on the Wizards:

They teased me sometimes but everyone knows that I’m not the kind of guys that’s going to decline, you know. Every year I get better. I just worked on my game. I spent more than an hour, an hour and a half a day working on my jump shot with the coach that was over there, just working of different parts of my game because China is different than the NBA. Over there, it’s a lot more physical, a lot more dirty play, and they pack the lane over there. I used to be a slasher, so I had to develop a jump shot to be able to do more things. Once that opened up for me, everything just became easy. Right now the NBA is easy to me.

Strong words. I wouldn’t be shocked to see him back them up this season. Would anything really surprise you about this Knicks’ season?

Thanks to Michael Lee of the Washington Post for the Singleton quote!

21 comments on “NY Daily News: Knicks Sign Foward James Singleton

  1. alsep73

    Adapting my question from the last thread, since that’s still caught up in “Is Melo elite?” debate:

    Given that every big man on the team is old and/or injury prone, but also given how essential good point guard play is for this team, particularly with the two-PG starting lineup, which would you rather see the team draft in a few months: a young big man to spell Tyson, Amar’e and company, or a young PG to back up Ray-Ray and (if he stays) Prigs?

    As for Singleton, Seth Rosenthal has a mini scouting report courtesy of a Wizards writer who covered him during his stints with the team: http://www.postingandtoasting.com/2013/4/10/4210760/isola-the-knicks-close-to-signing-james-singleton

  2. Brian Cronin

    I think I’d rather them go with a big man. I think there tends to be more good big men late in the draft than good point guards, especially undersized (and therefore underrated) guys.

  3. yellowboy90

    Brian Cronin:
    I think I’d rather them go with a big man. I think there tends to be more big man depth late in the draft than good point guards.

    Not really recently. I would probably just go best available. I would try to go get Jeremy Tyler as a FA though. Just to kick the tires.

  4. Knicks4Eva

    He’s eligible because he wasn’t on an NBA roster after March 1 according the ESPN article.

  5. BigBlueAL

    The more I watch the Celtics the more Im convinced it will be an easy 5 game series for the Knicks if they play them in the 1st round.

  6. yellowboy90

    BigBlueAL:
    The more I watch the Celtics the more Im convinced it will be an easy 5 game series for the Knicks if they play them in the 1st round.

    I do wonder if the Knicks can stay with their starting line up if the Celtics continue starting Bradley, Pierce, Green, Bass, and Garnett.

    I guess an option would be to start Cope in place of Prigs to match and keep Martin as a back up to Tyson.

  7. mr.JayP

    BigBlueAL:
    The more I watch the Celtics the more Im convinced it will be an easy 5 game series for the Knicks if they play them in the 1st round.

    yea watching the C’s play its hard to imagine that they have “another gear” they could just kick it in for a whole playoff series.

  8. mr.JayP

    yellowboy90: I do wonder if the Knicks can stay with their starting line up if the Celtics continue starting Bradley, Pierce, Green, Bass, and Garnett.

    I guess an option would be to start Cope in place of Prigs to match and keep Martin as a back up to Tyson.

    i would leave prigs in to guard Bradley, felt can try n guard pierce. if a substitute needs to be made, imo it would be shump, thats where i would put Cope, or Singleton now :P

  9. Juany8

    mr.JayP: yea watching the C’s play its hard to imagine that they have “another gear” they could just kick it in for a whole playoff series.

    They used to, but he’s sitting on the bench with a torn ACL. Rondo was always monstrously better in the playoffs than regular season

  10. d-mar

    Really wish we were at full strength tomorrow, would love to give the Bulls a butt whipping on their home floor.

    But it actually wouldn’t be as satisfying without the absolute most annoying player in the NBA, Joakim Noah, on the court.

  11. lavor postell

    d-mar:
    Really wish we were at full strength tomorrow, would love to give the Bulls a butt whipping on their home floor.

    But it actually wouldn’t be as satisfying without the absolute most annoying player in the NBA, Joakim Noah, on the court.

    Yeah Noah certainly is annoying, but that’s just because he’s on a conference and historical rival. I’m a hundred percent sure if he was a Knick he would be loved more than even Tyson.

  12. Count de Pennies

    I live in LA and vaguely recalled that Singleton began his NBA career here with the Clippers.

    Of course, I could not remember a thing about him. Checking his basketball reference page I learned that the apex of his career was probably the first two games he ever played as a pro, way back in 2005-06:

    Game 1 against the Sonics: 24 mins, 14 pts, 10 rebs, 1 ast, 1 stl, 1 blk.

    Game 2 against the Hawks: 29 mins, 13 pts, 13 rebs, 2 asts, 3 stls

    Following that – in true Clipper fashion – he disappeared, rarely living up to that initial flash of greatness.

    Of course, now that Singleton has bounced around the league, been overseas and back, and finds himself on the wrong side of 30 he meets all the criteria of the classic Grunwald signing. With any luck, the Knicks will be able to squeeze 2-3 games from him similar to those first two w/the Clips before his body breaks down for good in a week or two.

  13. Brian Cronin

    But that was so long ago, if Singleton has improved every year since (which he has, according to Singleton) then he must be really good right now!

  14. JK47

    Singleton is a little undersized for PF at 6’8″, but he’s pretty muscular and works hard. His per-minute career numbers are not bad– pretty decent rebounder, blocks the occasional shot and isn’t a total stiff on offense. He also has a career FT% of .833.

  15. Juany8

    I just want to point out that during this winning streak, we’ve relied heavily on Copeland and Kenyon Martin for most of the center and backup PF minutes. These guys were getting DNP — sucks when the Knicks were going on their big streak to start the season. I remember writing a post wondering how everyone was going to fit in to the rotation if the Knicks ever got healthy, considering Camby, Amar’e, and Shump weren’t playing either. Funny how times have changed, this is the 3rd year in a row the Knicks have had some random 2nd round pick out of nowhere give them seriously productive minutes (Fields, Lin, Cope)

  16. Frank

    Looks like Wizards fans really loved Singleton — read the comments on this bulletsforever post:

    http://www.bulletsforever.com/2012/6/6/3067849/2012-wizards-player-evaluation-james-singleton

    Not much of an “evaluation” by the site, but from the comments he sounds like… Kenyon Martin? With a jumpshot?

    And my synergy subscription seems to have run out (they never charged me for 12-13 after I bought in for 11-12, but seem to have closed the loophole now) but one of the comments says that he has elite defensive synergy numbers. Sounds like Wizards fans started calling him “Big Game James” and that it wasn’t a joke.

    could this be another genius Grunwald get?

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