Knicks management has engaged in a “serious” discussion about signing Jeremy Tyler this week, when a four-day layoff in the schedule would allow the big man to get acclimated in practice, reports Marc Berman of the New York Post. The Knicks have long been expected to sign the 6’10” center at some point after waiving him during the preseason, when he was on the shelf with a stress fracture in his foot. The Knicks might also wait until January 6th, when 10-day contracts may be signed, to buy a little more time for Tyler’s foot to fully heal.
Tyler, a two-year NBA veteran, has been playing for the Knicks’ D-League affiliate, averaging 18.0 points and 10.2 rebounds in six games so far. He’s improved his efficiency over his past few outings, cutting his turnovers and raising his field goal percentage to 47.8%. The Knicks had reportedly been waiting to sign Tyler until they figured out what to do about potential trades for other players, but with owner James Dolan having told the team that no trades are forthcoming, perhaps that’s cleared the way for Tyler to come aboard. A conflicting report indicates that Knicks management is still working on trades in spite of what Dolan said, so it’s not clear if the notion of signing Tyler is still tied to trade discussions.
The Knicks would have to clear a roster spot before adding Tyler. Toure’ Murry and Cole Aldrich are on non-guaranteed contracts and have played sparingly, though Murry’s longest outing of the season came last night, and cutting Aldrich to make room for Tyler would do nothing to supplement the team’s frontcourt depth. Chris Smith‘s contract is fully guaranteed for the rookie minimum salary, but he’s played just two minutes so far this season, making him a candidate to go, Berman writes.
Signing Tyler this week would mean his contract would become fully guaranteed if the team doesn’t waive him on or before January 7th. Waiting until January 6th to sign him to a 10-day contract would mean the Knicks wouldn’t have to decide whether to pay him for the rest of the season until January 26th, since Tyler could sign a pair of 10-day deals, so such a maneuver would give the Knicks more flexibility, as Berman explains.