The Knicks brought Jonathan Bender in for a workout last month, and it seems they liked what they saw. As the Pacers GM, Donnie Walsh traded for the multi-talented big guy after draft day back in 1999, only to see Bender's career derailed by chronic knee problems. Now Walsh is with the Knicks and Bender has been deemed healthy enough for a comeback. As Alan Hahn explains, there isn't much to lose:
It is a low-risk move for the Knicks, who signed him to a non-guaranteed deal through the remainder of the season at the veteran's minimum. There are no expectations whatsoever with him at this point, so it is not as if the Knicks need him to be an immediate factor. Mike D'Antoni's tight rotation is set right now and Eddy Curry must get minutes.
It saddens me to know Joe Crawford and Morris Almond are still biding their time in the D-League while moves like this one are made, but I suppose Bender's worth a shot. Walsh clearly knows his game well and was dying to give him another chance if he was up for it. I've never been a fan of comebacks, personally. I'll side with young, untapped talent 11 times out of 10, but I guess not everyone's as heartless as I am.
After the jump, a little video on Bender's early retirement and what he's been up to since then.