For all the Carmelo Anthony talk, Knicks president Donnie Walsh still believes the team's greatest need is a center to take the load off now-injured Amar'e Stoudemire, and Earl Barron has emerged as the most likely candidate to be acquired, The Post has learned.
The Knicks will have an open roster spot one way or another after the Feb. 24 trade deadline and Walsh has intentions of bringing Barron back to the organization, according to an NBA source.
Barron (6 feet, 11 inches) was cut by Phoenix on Dec. 22, and has been waiting patiently for the Knicks to open a roster spot, according to a source.
Barron was a huge success late last season when he signed with the Knicks for the final seven games, averaging a double-double: 11 points and 11 rebounds. He adapted perfectly to Mike D'Antoni's system, was a good locker room guy, and would make the team less reliant on starting center Timofey Mozgov, especially in the playoffs.
The Nyets also have interest in Barron, The Post reported Sunday.
Walsh said he believes Barron can make it easier for overworked Stoudemire, whose latest injury, a sprained right big toe, kept him out of his first game Saturday against the Nyyyyets.
Stoudemire, who is listed as day-to-day, said he's shooting for Wednesday's game against Atlanta, but there's speculation he'll be shut down until after the All-Star break so he can get a full 12 days rest.
If the Anthony trade is made, a roster spot likely will open up because the Knicks will give away multiple players in exchange. If they stand pat, the Knicks' first order of business will be to release Eddy Curry, whom D'Antoni has refused to dress all season, and possibly Kelenna
◎ I was an advocate for the re-signing of Barron at the start of the year. A decent rebounder and accurate spot shooter, even if he were to play a limited role - as I'd expect - his presence in practice, fresh legs and size can't be considered a drawback with 6th spot in the balance and a weary Stoudemire.
If we were to make a 4 for 1 trade for Melo, I'd also like to see PEJ brought in to the fray. A top defender with a legend's lineage. Rautins should be sent to the D League where he belongs. IMO, one of the worst snubs and picks in Knick history.
Memory lane: Barron's huge game against The 'Dics at the end of last season.
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