Garden chairman James Dolan is willing to wager $40 million that Allan Houston will be a healthy and productive player this season.
The Knicks are expected to use today’s “amnesty provision” not to get rid of their 34-year-old shooting guard, but to release Jerome Williams (above) instead. Malik Rose and Malik Taylor were candidates to be released. The one-time only provision in the new collective bargaining agreement allows teams that are over the salary cap to cut one player and not have to pay the dollar-for-dollar luxury tax on the contract.
Houston is the most logical choice – and the player Isiah Thomas wants to release – because he has appeared in just 70 games over the past two seasons due to a chronic knee condition and because he will earn $40 million through 2007. According to several sources, Dolan, who has a close relationship with Houston, informed the veteran two weeks ago that he wanted him to continue his career in New York.
Over the past 13 months, Thomas has acquired shooting guards Jamal Crawford and Quentin Richardson, and now Larry Brown is considering playing Stephon Marbury at the two-guard position.