Described by the Chicago Sun-Times’ John Jackson yesterday as having moved from the inactive list to “the really inactive list”, F Tim Thomas could conceivably end up back in a Knicks uniform writes the Newark Star-Ledger’s David Waldstein.

The Knicks are starving for a starting small forward, and Larry Brown acknowledged yesterday that if Tim Thomas (above) were still on the Knicks, he would have been playing substantial minutes instead of sitting on the bench as he has been doing in Chicago.

“He’d be playing a lot of minutes here,” Brown said.

“You can’t comment on anything,” Brown said. “I don’t know if he’s a free agent or still on the team or anything. Do I like Timmy Thomas? Yeah, I like Timmy Thomas a lot. I drafted him.”

Chicago GM John Paxson said it was against league rules to trade Thomas back for Davis, but the Knicks do have a perfect match in Penny Hardaway. They make roughly the same money ($14 million) and are in the last year of their contracts. Hardaway has barely played this season — due to tendinitis in his right knee and because he doesn’t fit into Brown’s scheme.

Chicago would initially look elsewhere for more in return than just Hardaway’s expiring contract, hoping to use Thomas to acquire a valuable asset later in the season. But if they are just looking to clear more cap space for next summer, Hardaway provides that.