In their pursuit of a big man, the Knicks have settled on a seven-footer nicknamed Big Snacks.
Jerome James, who acquired a reputation for underachievement during five previous NBA seasons before producing several breakthrough games for Seattle last postseason, will join rookie Channing Frye in the Knicks’ retooled middle, his agent Marc Fleisher confirmed Wednesday.
(Jerome says goodbye to his young Seattle fans, picking their pockets)
However, how much the Knicks pay him over what’s expected to be a five-year deal still needs to be determined, because the Knicks are expected to pursue a sign-and-trade deal with the Sonics, according to a source familiar with the talks. That’s so James (likely to start ahead of Frye) can receive more than the $5.1 million salary-cap exception.
Based on pure salary-cap numbers in a one-for-one transaction, the Knicks can send Seattle Malik Rose or Jerome Williams, neither of whom is appealing because of their remaining contracts (Rose three years left at $19.6 million, Williams two at $12.5 million).
If the Sonics bite, though, the Knicks save the $5.1 million exception, which they could use for another big body like Memphis forward Stromile Swift. Otherwise, they will spend all of it on James.
Whatever the means, they would get a player who averaged 17.2 points, 9.4 rebounds and 2.2 blocks in Seattle’s first-round elimination of the Kings after he produced just 4.9 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.4 blocks during the regular season as the Sonics’ starting center.
That’s been the history of someone listed in various league publications as between 272 and 300 pounds (hence his nickname). He also once fell asleep during a film session and showed up late for last season’s home opener.