GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- After one preseason game, did Toney Douglas already lose the starting point guard role? Douglas did not look comfortable in Saturday's win over the Nets, but that hardly was the motivation behind Monday's signing of veteran Baron Davis.
It's no longer a secret that Davis had his eye on coming to the Knicks for several weeks, even before the Cleveland Cavaliers decided to waive him with their amnesty provision Wednesday. Douglas, in his third season, still will need to handle the starting role until Davis has recovered from a herniated disc in his lower back.
"Toney knows how important he is to the team,'' said Mike D'Antoni, who couldn't deny that Davis will become the starter once he is healthy. That would return Douglas to a more comfortable role as a combo guard off the bench.
"I think he'll be fine either way,'' D'Antoni said. "It's our job as coaches to make sure he's comfortable in whatever role he will have.''
Douglas told reporters at practice Monday that he will "do whatever the coach asks me to do. I'm adaptable.''
Baron of BroadwayThough raised in Los Angeles, Davis has always had an affinity for New York. He'd always save his best for the Garden, and in the summers, he brought his game to the asphalt courts in the Rucker Park league.
"This is the mecca of basketball,'' he said. "The people of New York, they love their basketball, they know their basketball, so you get judged accordingly. If you play hard and you play with your heart and your soul, then they'll embrace you and they'll love you. That's why I've always tried to rise to the occasion when I come here with other teams, knowing that there is a great appreciation and a love for the sport.''
He will wear uniform No. 85, which will be the highest uniform number in franchise history (the previous was No. 55).