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The Knicks might want a roster spot, and Samuel Dalembert could be the one to vacate it

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Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The trade deadline is just over a month away-- February 19-- and the Knicks are probably working to get something done before it passes. They might as well. A bunch of guys on this 404 error of a team won't be wanted next year, so New York will try to exchange any of them for the NBA equivalent of nothing: exception money, obscure future draft picks, an olive, whatever.

If no trades-for-nothing materialize, the Knicks may still want to open a roster spot for auditions, which would mean cutting someone, which brings us to Marc Berman not-quite-reporting-but-kinda-saying-stuff about Samuel Dalembert:

Only $1.8 million of Dalembert's $3.8 million pact is guaranteed. Non-guaranteed NBA contracts become fully guaranteed on Jan. 10. According to a source, that stipulation applies to Dalembert's contract, and it's known the Knicks are considering everything.

If Dalembert is waived before Saturday, the Knicks would save $2 million and open up a roster spot for a young player from the D-League or a waived player from another NBA club.

...

The flip side for the Knicks in keeping Dalembert is they are desperate for big men and could net an asset in a trade before February's trade deadline for a club looking to add a defensive big man for a playoff push. The Boston Globe reported there could be several teams interested in the former Seton Hall shot blocker.

I...think that's all accurate. Travis Wear is the other Knick with a guarantee date coming up on this year's salary, but the organization burned a second-rounder and a half to make space for him, so cutting him to give someone a ten-day -- especially someone like Langston Galloway who *already* got cut instead of Wear -- would be a bad look.

Back to Dalembert! Berman mentions that Galloway and Thanasis Antetokounmpo were in the stands Sunday while Samuel was a healthy DNP, which could potentially add up to a meaningful thing. Dalembert also admits that it sucks ass to be a Knick this year. He'd obviously prefer to play out the last few months of this contract with a competing team instead of an imploding one. If New York decides Dalembert isn't a long-term asset (which...I dunno, he does protect the rim. There's a reason other teams want him. Still probably not.) and can't trade him this week, they might go ahead and make that cut to benefit all parties.

For most everyone else, that trade deadline is the next important date. Someone like, say, Jason Smith could be offered in exchange for the NBA equivalent of nothing. If that doesn't pan out, he could be cut to open space for try-outs, kinda like Metta World Peace and Beno Udrih last season. And just like last trade deadline's Clippers trade that almost happened, the Knicks may offer a real someone (perhaps Tim Hardaway Jr., or Iman Shumpert again even though his deal is expiring, or Pablo Prigioni if they really want to make me cry) to convince someone to absorb the contract they're most desperate to dump (Raymond Felton's last year, probably J.R. Smith's or maaaaybe Jose Calderon's this year), probably netting the NBA=o'0 in return.

The upshot is the Knicks don't care about winning games now, so they might as well play out the string with players they might like to keep around. They'll need roster spots to do that, and I bet they'll find a way to create those roster spots by mid-February, if not sooner. And if it's sooner, it'll be probably be Dalembert's spot that opens.

Update: He'd have to clear waivers, so the deadline for Dalembert is actually sooner: