And since the Knicks should have $2-3 million in leftover cap room, even if they sign two max free agents at starting salaries of $16.5 million, my educated guess is this: There are saving some money to make a respectable offer to Earl Barron, who was the Knicks' center for the final seven games of the regular season (he had two double-doubles, including 17 points and 18 rebounds in a win over Boston on April 6).
The Knicks signed Barron to a 10-day contract April 2, and a contract for the remainder of the season on April 12. At the time, I asked Walsh why he hadn't signed Barron to a make-good contract for the 2010-11 season (similar to what the Bulls had done with Rob Kurz, and the Celtics with Tony Gaffney and Oliver Lafayette).
Walsh said he would have liked to, but only at the veteran's minimum. Barron declined, his advisors believing he might be able to do better on the open market.
I can buy that. There were a handful of intriguing guys in the late first round, but a hard-working big man who can hit an open jumper is nothing to sneeze at. Barron doesn't have the outside chance of blossoming into a star that a draft pick might, but he probably won't flame out, either. Earl proved to be a pretty reliable option off the bench in April. If Sheridan's hypothesis is correct and Walsh is really saving up for The Aristocrat, then I think the underwhelming draft night is a little easier to stomach. Our friend Evan Dunlap, knowing that we've got a soft spot for Earl, guessed as much. We love us some Earl.