Maurice Taylor’s days with the Knicks appear to be numbered. According to a league source, the Knicks and Taylor’s representatives are trying to negotiate a buyout that would make the veteran forward a free agent.
Taylor is entering the final season of a multiyear contract and is due $9.8 million. Knicks president/coach Isiah Thomas conceivably could wait until the February trading deadline to try to deal Taylor’s expiring contract, which is what the club did last season with Penny Hardaway.
But Thomas also wants to rid his roster of veteran players whose minutes will be dramatically reduced. Taylor figures to be low on the depth chart behind forwards Channing Frye, David Lee and Malik Rose. Also, newcomer Jared Jeffries can play both forward positions.
Interestingly, former coach Larry Brown last season tried to persuade management to cut players because he felt it would improve team chemistry. Taylor and backup center Jerome James were two players Brown wanted off the team. Brown also talked about wanting to release Jalen Rose and rookie guard Nate Robinson as well.
Jalen Rose also is entering the last year of his contract and is a prime candidate to be traded by the deadline. There also is a possibility that the Knicks would look to buy out Rose’s contract if Quentin Richardson cannot be traded. Over the summer, the Knicks came close to trading Richardson to Portland for Darius Miles, a player with a history of having a negative impact on team chemistry as well as the won-lost record.