Houston Rockets Buyout Jared Jeffries Contract; Expected to Return to New York

Chris Faig@@ULuminaryCorrespondent IFebruary 25, 2011

NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 2:  Jared Jeffries #20 of the New York Knicks drives the ball against the Los Angeles Lakers on February 2, 2009 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by: Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

Now that the New York Knicks are in a desperate need of a big man after the acquisition for Carmelo Anthony, it is very likely they will bring back Jared Jeffries since the Houston Rockets have bought out his contract as expected. 

The Knicks decided to get rid of Jeffries during the trade deadline last season to open up salary space, but head coach Mike D'antoni never wanted to get rid of the forward/center.  

After including center Timofey Mozgov in the trade for Anthony and Chauncey Billups, the Knicks are now going through the list of players on the waiver wire to fulfill their immediate need for a big man.  According to numerous reports, New York is seriously interested in signing Jeffries now that the Rockets have officially bought out his contract.  Jeffries has never panned out in Houston, only averaging 7.7 MPG, 1.5 PPG and 1.9 RPG in 18 games so far this season, which is the reason the Rockets are deciding to cut their losses now.

The Knicks are expected to waive an unknown current player to make room for another big man, with only Amar'e Stoudemire and Ronny Turiaf being larger than 6-foot-9. Renaldo Balkman, Roger Mason Jr. and Anthony Carter are expected to be the first players cut in order to open up space for any power forward or center they may sign.

Although Jeffries never put up incredible numbers with the Knicks, he did prove to be a consistent defensive threat.  At 6-foot-11 and 240 pounds, Jeffries could potentially add some well-needed height to New York's roster, but there are also a few other possibilities they may explore-such as Jerome Jordan, Troy Murphy and Earl Barron.

Troy Murphy makes a solid candidate for the Knicks with his contract expected to be bought out by Golden State in the near future.  The 6-foot-11, 245-pound forward/center plays solid defense, is a good rebounder and even has three-point range. Throughout 10 seasons in the NBA, Murphy has recorded a career average of 11.8 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 1.6 APG and 0.7 SPG in 29.0 MPG.

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Marc Berman of the New York Post has reported that Earl Barron would like to return to New York to play for D'Antoni once again.  Barron could be a favorite for the Knicks to sign because of his outstanding performances toward the end of last season.  The seven-footer out of Memphis averaged a double-double throughout the final seven games.  With Turiaf as the only center on the team, Barron could be a great fit.

Jerome Jordan has been playing in Turkey, but the Knicks still own the rights to the seven-foot center, so they may decide to sign him now if they believe he is ready enough to compete at the NBA level.

In order for the Knicks to successfully compete with elite Eastern Conference teams such as the Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, Orlando Magic and Chicago Bulls, they will have to sign a big man before playoff time.  As of now, Jared Jeffries seems like the front-runner, but a true center would benefit the Knicks most in their hunt for an NBA title.


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