Knicks mull Brad Miller at center
By MARC BERMAN
Last Updated: 11:35 AM, April 20, 2010
Posted: 3:10 AM, April 20, 2010
If Marcus Camby is indeed off the free-agent market, the center-less Knicks may be desperate enough to investigate Bulls 7-foot backup center Brad Miller come July, according to a league source.
Though he just turned 34, Miller still has something left in the tank -- he is a serviceable, decent-shooting big-man that coach Mike D'Antoni could use for his offense. Team president Donnie Walsh craves a center to give the Knicks the sizeable defensive interior presence they lack.
Miller, facing LeBron James' Cavaliers in the first round of the playoffs, played all 82 games for the Bulls this season and averaged 8.8 points and 4.9 rebounds in 23 minutes.
The shot-blocking Camby, who was interested in having a second stint with the Knicks, was the better fit. He has had talks about a two-year, $20 million contract extension with the Blazers, ESPN.com reported yesterday. That kind of money is way out of the ballpark as the Knicks try to add as many assets as they can with their cap room.
If they do not land two superstars for maximum contracts, the Knicks have the option of breaking up their $34 million in salary cap room into smaller pieces and signing three or four players, including a center. Shaquille O'Neal is a free agent, but he is 38 and did not have that much success under D'Antoni in Phoenix.
Walsh acquired Miller for the Pacers in 2001, and Miller made the All-Star Game in 2003 before he left as a free agent for Sacramento.
Blazers president Kevin Pritchard talked glowingly of Camby when the Knicks were in town last month, but Camby was skeptical he would fit in Portland next season with center Greg Oden expected to return from knee surgery.
Walsh prefers not to bring back 6-foot-9 free agent David Lee unless the Knicks can play him at power forward, not center. Walsh and D'Antoni both feel that Lee needs a true center to play alongside of him. The Knicks want to bring back late-season signee, 7-footer Earl Barron, as a backup center, but they need a starter. The Knicks know they can't count on Eddy Curry.
Camby would have been a great defensive fit and his family was excited about him returning to New York.
"I know how it feels like to play for the Knicks," Camby said three weeks ago. "I know what it feels like to wear that jersey and represent that city. Once free agency comes, I'll take a look at it."