Nothing's official yet, but here you go:
Lou Amundson has reached agreement with New York on a deal for the rest of the season and will sign today, league source tells RealGM.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 29, 2015
I've turned on this decision, which has been predictable for a few days now. I was against bringing both of those guys (maaaybe one) back, but I've changed my mind. Here are my thoughts:
1. The goal-- whether you're courting veteran journeymen or young, unproven prospects-- is to find and cultivate players who can help in the future. The play of both Thomas and Amundson so far suggests they can help in the future. They're both influencing the team positively, especially on defense. Keeping them around makes it easier to retain them, and...
2. ...that's still pretty easy to undo! The CBA demands that teams commit to players after two 10-days, or the Knicks would probably be keep signing these guys to 10-days. If Amundson and Thomas and the Knicks start to play terribly, would New York be willing to eat a bit of money and cut them? Perhaps!
3. The other goal is to lose games, but I don't think the players should be punished for succeeding in spite of their circumstances. These are people. I've been dazzled this season by assets-- cap space, lottery balls, second-rounders, etc.-- but there are people on the Knicks right now, and they've been put in a position to lose all season. Now that they've finally had a bit of success (and it really is a bit; they're edging bad and short-handed teams), they must feel good. That's good! Why rip that good feeling away over something so small?
4. I do want an open roster space to audition more unproven players, and it seems there's a strong chance the Knicks will make that happen another way. We know they're still looking to make trades, and they could easily make post-deadline cuts like they did last season.
All that said:
5. Sit Melo. If it has to wait until after the All-Star break for reasons of money and appearances, I get it, but please sit him after that and let him get whatever attention he needs. I think removing Melo from the rotation could satisfy all goals mentioned above: The Knicks will have a very hard time winning games, but they might defend well and compete sometimes, and guys on the fringe can have opportunities and feel good.
It's nice to be nice sometimes. It's good to develop a happy workplace. And even from a Machiavellian beep-boop Moneyball standpoint, it's wise to keep effective players in pocket and keep agents smiling and all that. I'm down for the tank, but I'm also down for the Knicks to be human, and I think they can have it both ways.