Would the Knicks really dare to cut the son and namesake of one of the franchise's greatest players twice?
Patrick Ewing Jr. on Friday was signed by the Knicks to a partially-guaranteed contract that, right now, is a training camp invite that would lock in for the season if he makes the final roster.
Ewing Jr., of course, was the final cut in 2008-09 when the team decided against buying out Stephon Marbury. He went to the D-League that year and played well, but injured his right knee late in the season, which cost him a potential 10-day deal to return to the Knicks at the end of the season. He was invited to play for the Knicks' summer league team in 2009, but doctors advised Ewing Jr. to have surgery to repair torn ligaments in his knee.
Ewing Jr. then took the 2009-10 season off to recover from the surgery and he was back on the court in July to play in the NBA Summer Leagues in Orlando (he played for his dad and the Magic) and Las Vegas (he played for the Knicks).
Obviously there is novelty to having Ewing Jr. in blue-and-orange, but when you ask anyone in the Knicks organization, they're quick to tell you that the kid can play, and that's the most important thing here. But while we'll acknowledge seeing legitimate skill and improvement in P-Kiddie's game in Vegas, this roster is already over-run with wings.
But make no mistake, Ewing Jr. is the kind of player you want deep on your bench: built-in crowd favorite, good karma and a great attitude that won't give you any trouble. It's hard not to root for a guy who grew up in this organization while his father played and has remained a regular at the Garden -- he was even at the Liberty playoff game on Thursday night.
Now, of course, comes the obvious question: what number does he wear? In 2008-09, Pat Jr. decided not to request his father's retired No. 33 (though he had Dad's blessing) and instead chose No. 6, which was his Dad's Olympic number. But this year Landry Fields has already claimed No. 6 (if you look closely, I believe you can still see the outline of the "James" nameplate), so Ewing Jr. will have to come up with another option.
It's a problem he's happy to have.