Knicks dangling 'room exception'

Atlanta's Jamal Crawford drives to the hoop against

Atlanta's Jamal Crawford drives to the hoop against Knicks center Amar'e Stoudemire during the second half. (Feb. 16, 2011) Photo Credit: Christopher Pasatieri

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GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- The Knicks still possess one last mechanism to add a rotation player to the roster: the NBA's new "room exception,'' which they are dangling in free agency to see if an interesting opportunity arises.

It initially was believed that the exception would be used to re-sign forward Shawne Williams, but although there were indications that Williams was ready to sign over the weekend, a deal wasn't done.

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The Knicks had hoped that a long shot such as former Mavericks point guard J.J. Barea might accept the offer, which is a two-year, $5-million contract.

Another player in the mix is former Knick Jamal Crawford, who, like Barea, is seeking much more than the $2.5-million annual salary but is getting such interest only from non-playoff teams.

The Knicks might wait to use the room exception to sign players who are waived via amnesty and clear the bidding process. Baron Davis has been telling friends of his interest in playing for the Knicks if the Cleveland Cavaliers decide to waive him. Gilbert Arenas cleared waivers Sunday.


Knicks fix

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Mike D'Antoni downplayed the notion that new assistant coach Mike Woodson was hired mainly for a defensive role. "We get into a habit of offense and defensive coaches, but really, you coach the game,'' D'Antoni said. "He'll help me on the offensive end and the defensive end and wherever we need him.'' . . . Tyson Chandler, in his first practice, said Carmelo Anthony's reputation as a selfish player is unfounded. "He can definitely pass the ball,'' Chandler said. "And the thing is, he's a scorer, so I don't care. He can shoot as many times as he wants to and I'll go chase the ball.'' . . . Center Jerome Jordan, who has been playing in Europe, has yet to sign his rookie contract. The Knicks have to work out a buyout agreement with his team in Slovenia first.

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