The New York Knicks signed three players over the last year and a half to big money long-term contracts; however the player they are waiting on and hoping he can help turn around the club after a less than stellar start will be paid the NBA veteran’s minimum salary this season. The long wait for the man who the Knicks hope will be the catalyst to get their offense in gear may be nearly over, as the “New York Post” reported that veteran point guard Baron Davis participated in his first practice with his new team on Monday. The former All-Star was signed as a Free Agent after he was waived by the Cleveland Cavaliers last month via the NBA Amnesty Clause. He has yet to play this season due to bulging discs in his back which made it too painful for him to get on the floor.
The veteran is now with his third franchise in less than a year as the Los Angeles Clippers traded him to Cleveland last February. Davis told reporters after the practice that his skills were not up to par after being sidelined for so long. The guard said “Everything (is rusty). Stamina, timing. I couldn’t play dead in a movie if I was asked to. We’re still taking it one day at a time. I still have strength I have to improve on. There’s still conditioning I have to improve on. The best conditioning you get is out playing basketball. Now that I can practice, it’s a matter of time. I made a lot of mistakes, was very rusty, I didn’t play good, but a lot of instinctual things were there. It felt good to be out there with teammates bringing some spirit and joy. It’s been a long time coming.”
According to the paper, New York head coach Mike D’Antoni would like to activate his veteran point guard during the upcoming four game road trip. The Knicks bench boss is hoping to get him into a game by the final game of the road swing which will be in Houston on Saturday.
Right now Davis is taking things one day at a time; however he is very optimistic about the prospects for his team this season. He said “I tackled this first practice, we’ll see how I feel tomorrow and keep making progress. When they tell me I’m looking good and coach feels I’m looking all right and I won’t go out and hurt the team, we’ll make the judgment. Right now it’s a first step. Once our offense catches up with our defense, we’ll be unstoppable. I’m confident this season we’ll turn it around.”
The team will be in Charlotte on Tuesday, Cleveland on Wednesday, then head to Miami on Friday before concluding the trip in Houston against the Rockets on Saturday.