Jared Jeffries constantly is reminded of the pain that lasted the entire offseason. It was, to some Knicks fans, his Charles Smith moment: The failure of the 6-11 forward to power up for what seemed to be a textbook drop-step finish in the closing seconds of a 96-93 loss to the Celtics in Game 2 of the playoffs.
"I've watched that play a ton of times," Jeffries said. "I feel like I don't want that to define what I am as a Knick or what I did in my Knick career. I know I let a lot of people down, but no one more so than myself."
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With that motivation, Jeffries wanted to come back to try again. Despite better offers elsewhere, he plans to accept a one-year contract from the Knicks for the veteran's minimum once the official free-agency signing period begins this weekend.
"Honestly, I want to win in New York," Jeffries said. "I feel last year we were very close."
Mike D'Antoni has developed a strong affinity for Jeffries' versatility, especially on defense. The 10-year veteran signed with the Knicks in 2006 and was traded to the Rockets in 2009. He returned late last season after Houston waived him and played 24 regular-season games. He averaged 2 points and 3.4 rebounds in 19.3 minutes and shot 38 percent from the field. In the playoffs, his numbers improved to 6.3 points, 47.8-percent shooting and 5 rebounds in 21.3 minutes.
The Knicks still are monitoring the free-agent market. They have interest in former Pacers point guard Jamaal Tinsley, who at 33 is attempting a comeback in the D-League. The Knicks also have looked at perimeter threats Jason Kapono and Anthony Parker, and center Jeff Foster.