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Berman: Knicks Could Pursue Samuel Dalembert

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While writing that headline, I inadvertently coined the term "pursamuel". It will be reused. Anyway, as has already been linked, Marc Berman of The Post wrote an article this morn' citing sources "close to Knicks president Donnie Walsh" and a source with knowledge of Samuel Dalembert's innermost thoughts and concluding that some pursamueling might be in order.

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 in DeMarcus Cousins and Jason Thompson and may not pay big for Dalembert.

With the 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 such as Dalembert 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 such as Paul 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.

Dalembert is both intriguing and a bit worrisome. He's quite tall, swats and rebounds at a high rate, and could very well be as enamored with the prospect of playing in New York as Berman makes him out to be. He also turns 30 in a week, has a history of injuries (edit: not recently, really), doesn't score much from more than arm's length away from the rim, and has been labeled a "malcontent" more than once.

There's no way of knowing how plausible any of this is quite yet. Springtime rumors are laden with "ifs", and things get even more conditional when the labor agreement is an amorphous mystery. Still, this seems like a legitimate possibility, no? Oh? What's that, Chris Sheridan?


The collective bargaining agreement expires June 30, and Dalembert would not become a free agent until July 1. Nobody knows what the rules of the new labor agreement will be, and the proposal delivered by the owners to the players last week (which was not received warmly by the union) includes the elimination of the mid-level exception the Knicks would need to use to sign someone of Dalembert's caliber.

Also, Sacramento Kings owner Joe Maloof has said retaining Dalembert (and guard Marcus Thornton) would be an offseason priority. The Kings, who expect to be about $26 million under the salary cap, have the option of signing him to an extension between now and June 30.

Ah. So that's a pretty big "if", both on the CBA front and on the "Sacramento might actually want to keep Samuel" front. In any event, the Knicks desperately need some rebounding and interior defense. Whether a free agent like Dalembert or any of the other young, available tall bros (who are, interestingly enough, currently clustered in the Western conference) or one of the interesting but not exactly captivating bigs in the draft (some names) is the answer remains to be seen, but you can be certain Walsh will look to bolster the frontcourt. Sheridan's article has a list of potentially available folks at the bottom, and some of those (Lou Amundson, Jeff Foster, Aaron Gray, Iam Apparentlyracist) caught my eye. Dalembert isn't perfect, but if available, he seems like as good an option as any. We just don't want to get bullied anymore!