The Knicks are not expected to bring back Earl Barron as a fourth center on the roster, which I expect will result in great dismay from you Barronites out there. He played all of seven games last season -- hey, that equaled Eddy Curry -- but he left a strong enough impression on fans to conjure regular requests from Fixer Nation for me to look into his status with the 2010-11 roster.
With Curry, Ronny Turiaf and Russian rookie Timofey Mozgov on the depth chart at center, the Knicks aren't in the market for yet another big man. The discovery (and signing) of Mozgov effectively ended Barron's chances of a return, even after rookie Jerome Jordan opted to go to Serbia rather than come to camp this year.
The Knicks initially tried to sign Barron at the end of the 09-10 season, when he averaged 11.7 points and 11 rebounds in 33.1 minutes per game in the final two weeks of the season. He was offered a non-guaranteed contract for 10-11 and turned it down, mainly because he was hoping to get something more secure - perhaps even from the Knicks - during the offseason.
At this point, you still have to expect someone will give the 29-year-old journeyman, who has a nice touch around the rim, can rebound and block shots, at least the veteran's minimum. Once Lou Amundson makes a decision on his future -- the New Orleans Hornets appear to be the front-runner -- teams such as the Warriors and Pacers could turn their attention to Barron.
"We are having discussions with several teams regarding Earl," Barron's agent, Mark Termini, said when we spoke today.
Personally, I think Barron would be a better fit on veteran teams and teams that like to run pick-and-roll. The Chicago Bulls, for one, could use him behind Joakim Noah. And I know the Miami Heat invested in Joel Anthony and brought in Zydrunas Ilgauskas, but Barron would fit well there, too.
Of course the Knicks could use him for insurance, considering that:
a. Turiaf is coming off an injury-shortened season and has never been a full-time starter,
b. Mozgov is a rookie and, despite his impressive athleticism and length, could struggle through foul issues early on because of his aggressive style,
c. Curry is, well, you know . . . (It's September 7, do you know where your big man is? I know where he's not: at the MSG Training Center with a growing group of his teammates).
But there is already a logjam in the frontcourt, when you consider Amar'e Stoudemire and Anthony Randolph are also candidates to play minutes at the five. With a more compelling issue to address in the backcourt (mainly the SG spot), the Knicks at this point are not expected to reach out to Barron even for a camp invite.
The roster at 15 players -- Patrick Ewing Jr. signed a partially guaranteed deal, but from what I understand, he is expected to make the team -- the Knicks might invite one or two more players just to have extra bodies at camp. But there will only be a five-day camp this year because of the trip to Europe and Mike D'Antoni will want to get down to numbers fairly quickly.