4:45pm: The Knicks are actively trying to trade Dalembert prior to Wednesday to avoid facing the decision to retain or waive him on that day, Marc Stein of ESPN.com reports (Twitter link).
8:48am: With the Knicks’ season in a seemingly hopeless freefall, having lost 11 games in a row, and their record currently sitting at a dismal 5-31 overall, the team is considering numerous options for altering its roster. One change that could happen by this Wednesday is the team possibly waiving center Samuel Dalembert, Marc Berman of The New York Post reports.
This coming Saturday, January 10th, is the NBA’s leaguewide contract guarantee date. All players with non-guaranteed or partially guaranteed contracts still on team rosters on that date will have the remainder of their salaries guaranteed for the season. But in order for any franchise to clear undesirable or unwanted contracts off of its books, players will need to clear waivers in advance of this deadline. This means that any players, including Dalembert, would need to be placed on waivers by no later than 4:00pm Central time this Wednesday, January 7th. This would allow the requisite two days that players remain on waivers to pass prior to Saturday’s deadline.
The reason that Dalembert’s name has come up as a possibility to be waived is that only $1.98MM of his $4.05MM contract is guaranteed, Berman notes. So New York can save itself a cool $2.07MM by releasing the big man prior to the cutoff date. Waiving Dalembert would open up a roster spot for the Knicks to add a younger D-League player or sign a veteran who was waived by another team, Berman adds. One such player that the Knicks are possibly looking to sign to a 10-day contract is D-League point guard Langston Galloway, though New York is already painfully thin in the frontcourt, something releasing Dalembert and signing Galloway would not rectify.
New York is considering every option currently, Berman reports, which means that the Knicks could retain Dalembert and try to acquire an asset by trading him to a club looking to add a defensive big man for a playoff push, the New York Post scribe adds. There are numerous teams that are desperate to add a rim protecting big man, including Cleveland, Dallas, and Miami, though I’m merely speculating on their potential interest in Dalembert.
Dalembert certainly hasn’t been setting the league on fire with his performance for the Knicks, who were hoping that he could help replace the defensive presence of Tyson Chandler, whom the Knicks traded to Dallas prior to the season, in a deal which netted them Dalembert. In 32 appearances, including 21 as a starter, Dalembert has averaged an underwhelming 4.0 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks in 17.0 minutes per game. He hasn’t fit well into the triangle offense that the Knicks are attempting to implement, though judging by the team’s record, he’s hardly the only one.
For his part, Dalembert is currently in the dark about what the Knicks’ plans for him are, Berman notes. “Maybe you know more than me,’’ Dalembert said. “I love it here. I love the team we have. Unfortunately we’re going through what we’re going through right now. It’s a great organization. I would love for my career to finish here, but it’s business. A lot of times it’s beyond your control. I’ll still see how it goes and enjoy the time.’’
Team president Phil Jackson could soon decide the best thing for the Knicks’ long-term future is playing their younger players, which could also affect Amar’e Stoudemire ’s status, Berman also notes. Stoudemire missed his fifth straight game on Sunday night, and he could also eventually be waived to open up a roster spot, Berman opines. There is no immediate deadline to do so for Stoudemire, since the remainder of his $23,410,968 salary for this season is fully-guaranteed, though March 1st is the final date that players can be waived and be eligible to play in the postseason for another team.