Azu may miss training camp and season
Landry Fields signed his rookie contract Thursday, completing a Knicks roster
that is younger, deeper and more talented than any recent edition. It comes,
however, with one minor asterisk.
Kelenna Azubuike, who was expected to compete for a starting job, may
start training camp on the sideline, because of lingering concerns over his
surgically repaired left knee.
Azubuike tore his patellar tendon last November while playing for the Golden
State Warriors. He missed the rest of the season, and the Warriors expected
he would need a full year to recover.
The Knicks are taking a similarly conservative approach.
“We’re not sure,” said the team president Donnie Walsh, who described a
torn patellar tendon as “one of the worst injuries in the league.”
Azubuike spent most of the summer rehabilitating with a private trainer. He
just began working with the Knicks’ staff this week, so team officials do not
yet have a firm assessment. Azubuike is not yet running or jumping, which
suggests that he is a long way from playing high-level basketball.
“I think it’s 50-50 whether he’ll be ready for training camp right now,”
D’Antoni said. “He thinks he will be.”
When healthy, the 26-year-old Azubuike is probably the Knicks’ top candidate
to start at shooting guard, because of his athleticism, his strength and his
steady 3-point stroke. At 6 feet 5 inches and 220 pounds, Azubuike is built
“like a brick,” D’Antoni said, and is an above-average defender.
Wilson Chandler, Roger Mason and Bill Walker are also candidates to start at
Fields, the 39th pick in the June draft, should compete for playing time at
both shooting guard and small forward after impressing team officials in the
summer league, when he averaged a team-leading 15.6 points. The 6-7, 210-
pound Fields averaged 22 points and 8.8 rebounds in his senior season at
With Fields signed, the Knicks’ roster is essentially set. They have 14 players
with guaranteed contracts and no immediate plans to fill the final vacancy.
(Center Jerome Jordan, another second-round pick, will begin his career in
Serbia. The Knicks retain his rights.) A handful of players will be brought to
camp on partial guarantees and perhaps compete for the 15th spot.
It is almost an entirely new roster. Of the 14 players under contract, only
Chandler, Danilo Gallinari and Toney Douglas played major roles last season.
Walker (who played in 27 games) and Eddy Curry (7 games) also return.
The lineup will be rebuilt around the star forward Amar’e Stoudemire and point
guard Raymond Felton, the Knicks’ biggest free-agent signings this summer.
Gallinari, a rising star, will probably start at small forward.
Everything else will be up for grabs when the Knicks open training camp Sept.
25 at their training center in Greenburgh. They open the preseason Oct. 6 in
Milan, Italy, where Gallinari began his professional career as a teenager.
This was already known during the day of the trade
I will say it a million times "a knee injury is something to take seriously"
it does not matter the type of injury.
I would not stop Azu rehabilitation any time soon to fit into a running team.
Azu best recovery would be to skip this 2010-11 season.
We will have to develope Walker/Mason/Fields at the SG spot to mesh with
PG-Felton in the backcourt. While using Douglas as a combo-guard during
pressure situations on offense/defense late in the game.
For those who got it twisted Im going to fix-it
SF-Wilson Chandler is a 6.8 225lb SF. who have great skills at being a help-
defender of oponents SG/PF. Chandler playingtime minutes this season should
stay strictly at the SF position if the Knicks are looking to win.
To all the Gallo/Randolph fans, Im sorry but these (two year) raw-players
have to develope "consistency" coming off the bench this season.
I know u are angry :smokin: but we need young depth off the bench to win.
Signing 29 year old Earl Barron to perform at center would give
PF-Amare/SF-Chandler plenty of room on the wings to provide help to our
weakness at the SG position.
I do put D.League C-Earl Barron skills above Turiaf/Mozgov/Randolph at the
center spot. I do not want Barron going back to Miami this season.