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Lance Thomas discusses his career, free agency, and Renaldo Balkman

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Facing Renaldo Balkman in the 2011 Pan Am Games was a turning point for Lance, because sometimes the universe just makes sense.

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Lance Thomas is about to become a very rich man. The Knicks forward has been contacted by no fewer than nine teams so far:

It would seem that the secret is out on our guy Lance. And Mr. Thomas, clever Dukie that he is, made sure to get his name out there on the first day of free agency by publishing a piece in The Players' Tribune entitled "Grinding for a 10-Day Contract." It is the story of perseverance, bolstered by his own four keys for NBA success:

That "guard the other team's best player" part is the real secret to Thomas's success. For a forward he is quite adept at locking up scoring guards like James Harden.

But before he took on the likes of Harden, Thomas had to grapple with an even more formidable foe. In an anecdote that is sure to warm the hearts of any true Knicks fan, Lance credits at least part of his turnaround to tangling with MSG legend Renaldo Balkman:

With the NBA lockout going on during the Pan Am Games in 2011, the U.S. roster was filled with some of the best from the D-League. I got the call-up. Playing in Mexico was an unbelievable experience. We wound up taking home the bronze in that tournament.

I remember the game against Puerto Rico, the eventual gold medalists. They had this guy, Renaldo Balkman, who had actually been with the Knicks for a few years. He could flat-out play. I told my coach, "I want to guard Renaldo."

He took on Humpty ... better yet, he demanded the responsibility of taking on Humpty. I can only imagine their battle looked something like this:

There can be only one! It certainly feels like fate that Lance ended up at MSG, does it not?

Thomas was also effusive with his praise of one Carmelo Anthony, particularly his leadership even during the tough times:

This year when things went south, Melo never tanked on the season. He never gave up. And you know what? He always found a way to stay positive with everyone whether he was healthy or not, and that was very admirable. He put a fire in our bellies to compete even when we were mathematically out of the playoff chase.

That's nice and all, but pales in comparison to Lance V. Humpty: Dawn of Justice. The dude is on the verge of making perhaps tens of millions of dollars and decided to pen an article about his professional career highlighting his matchup with Renaldo Balkman. No matter what happens this summer, Lance Thomas, you'll always remain a true Knick.