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Old 05-04-2011, 04:03 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Knicks want Dalembert?

With the chances slim of the Knicks adding a quality center with the 17th pick in the NBA Draft, and with an unkind salary-cap situation in 2011, sources close to team president Donnie Walsh say he has targeted Kings 6-foot-11 shotblocker Samuel Dalembert as the likeliest free-agent catch this summer.

Walsh's old-school principles have made adding a big, bruising starting defensive center to play alongside power forward Amar'e Stoudemire as his No. 1 priority. It might be a strong enough urge to sacrifice what could be maximum cap room in 2012, essentially giving up a shot at point guard Chris Paul.

The Knicks realize some top free agents likely will stay put or be out of their financial range. Memphis' Marc Gasol and Dallas' Tyson Chandler are expected to re-sign, and the Clippers probably will match an offer to young DeAndre Jordan.

That's where Dalembert comes in. According to a source, Dalembert likely would choose the Knicks if their offer is comparable with any others.

Dalembert has strong New York-area ties. He played his senior year of high school at St. Patrick's in Elizabeth, N.J., before heading to Seton Hall. An avid fundraiser for Haiti's economic plight, he also likes the visibility of being a voice for New York's large Haitian population.

If the new labor agreement still contains the $6 million mid-level exception, the Knicks will be in the ballgame. The Kings have two young big men (DeMarcus Cousins and Jason Thompson) and may not pay big for Dalembert.

With craters in the Knicks' roster as far as size, Walsh is mulling whether to change course and risk his potential maximum cap space for 2012 by offering a solid center a long-term mid-level deal.

In that scenario, the club would use its 2012 cap space on depth pieces and not a third superstar to play with Carmelo Anthony and Stoudemire. And the Knicks would draft a point guard at No. 17, with Boston College's Reggie Jackson and Georgia Tech's Iman Shumpert on their radar. The Knicks will scout Jackson and Shumpert at the Nets' combine draft workout this weekend.

There are fears the new collective bargaining agreement won't allow the Knicks enough 2012 cap space to sign a max player anyway. Walsh also has said he does not need to use his 2012 cap space on just one star player, maybe Paul or Dwight Howard. The Knicks, who severely lack depth since trading for Anthony, may not have the luxury of spending all of it on one player.

Magic star Howard also has given the impression he does not want to play in New York City.
Kings' Dalembert could fill Knicks' void in middle - NYPOST.com
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