Larry Brown said yesterday that he is expecting Davis to rejoin the team but the coach was noncommittal when asked where and when that may take place, raising speculation that Davis may never again play for the Knicks.
Under the ban, he is allowed to practice with the Knicks but he has already missed three training sessions. Yesterday, Brown was vague concerning Davis’ status. When asked if he expected the power forward to rejoin the team, Brown replied: “Yeah … unless something crazy happens that I don’t know about.”
Asked if Davis still wants to play in New York, Brown answered: “I don’t even think that’s an issue.”
A Knicks official said yesterday that there continue to be whispers inside the organization that Davis will be released so he can sign with a contending team.
That scenario, however, is unlikely to happen until after the Feb. 23 trading deadline, if at all. Davis, who was also coached by Brown in Indiana, is one of the Knicks’ few stable veterans.
“The last thing the Knicks want to do is to keep losing because the Bulls have their first-round pick,” said one league source. “Davis will keep them close.”
Davis, however, is also standing in the way of progress. Because he is a leader and the Knicks’ best low-post defender, Davis starts ahead of rookie Channing Frye. If Davis is traded or released, Frye would be the full-time starter.
Davis’ expiring contract would draw interest from several teams, and the Knicks might be able to trade Davis to Toronto for Jalen Rose, a player who has been on Thomas’ radar for two years. The feeling around the league is that Thomas is trying to trade Davis, even though the Knicks assured him in training camp that he was safe.
Not surprisingly, Brown and Thomas both had different views after the league suspended Davis. Brown called the penalty “real excessive” while Thomas called it “just.” Thomas was the only one associated with the Knicks who supported the league over Davis, which is something several teammates noticed. Had it been Stephon Marbury under the league’s microscope, Thomas’ reaction certainly would have been different.
“It’s been made clear to all of us that a player should never leave the playing field and go into the stands,” Thomas said Thursday.
It was a departure for Thomas, who over the years has hinted that street justice has a place in the NBA.