With their rash of injuries to their frontcourt, it was only a matter of time before Knicks’ general manager Glenn Grunwald addressed the need.
As it has been rumored for the past couple of days, the Knicks officially released forward Kurt Thomas to free up a roster space, which they used to sign 6’10″ center Solomon Jones.
Jones, most recently with Liaoning of the Chinese Basketball Association, averaged 15.8 points and 10.4 rebounds this season in China. He most recently played with the New Orleans Hornets and Los Angeles Clippers in 2011-12.
Jones is a seven-year NBA veteran, which also includes stops with the Atlanta Hawks and Indiana Pacers. In 268 career NBA games, Jones has averaged 3.1 points and 2.4 rebounds per game.
There was talk of the Knicks coming to terms on a deal with James Singleton earlier in the week, but that deal fell through due to a procedural holdup with his Chinese team. He could not get FIBA clearance, according to ESPN’s Ian Begley.
League source: #Knicks deal w/James Singleton fell though due to a procedural holdup with his Chinese team. He could not get FIBA clearance.
— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) April 12, 2013
Jones is more of a shot-blocker and better defender than Singleton and at 28, he instantly becomes one of the youngest players on the team.
Singleton is a bit of a more versatile player who can do a lot of things better than Jones, but Jones adds some more size to the Knicks bench.
Jones is signed through the remainder of the season, which makes him eligible for the postseason roster.
He could be in uniform as early as tonight as the Knicks play in Cleveland. If he is, it is entirely possible that he could start at center.
Grunwald made a statement about Thomas, who is one of the classier guys in the league (via Alan Hahn):
“Once it became clear that he would not be able to return this season, and due to a rash of injuries to our big men, we felt that it was important for us to free-up a spot on our roster.”
“We thank Kurt for all that he has done. I have the utmost respect for Kurt as a player and as a man.”
“Kurt’s contributions to the Knicks have been immeasurable. From the first day of training camp to the 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.”