Atlanta Hawks v New York Knicks

Report: Knicks coaches want to sign Earl Barron, but front office is undecided


Th Knicks could use some frontcourt depth for next season, and no, the free agent signing of Andrea Bargnani isn’t what we’re talking about.

New York needs defense and rebounding off the bench, particularly if it wants to contend with teams like the Nets and the Pacers who are relatively stacked at the forward or center positions.

Earl Barron, who appeared in seven games for the Knicks in 2010 and played once for them last season, is someone who the coaching staff knows and likes. The front office, however, remains undecided on Barron, creating an awkward split in the internal thinking of how the team will round out its roster.

From Jared Zwerling of Bleacher Report:

The New York Knicks coaching staff would like to sign Earl Barron, but team management is not in any rush to do so, according to a source close to the veteran free-agent center.

“The Knicks coaches want Earl, but ownership wants to wait,” the source told Bleacher Report.

A second source familiar with the Knicks’ free-agency plans confirmed they are interested in Barron, 32, who appeared in seven games (six starts) for the Knicks in 2009-10, averaging 11.7 points and 11.0 rebounds over 33.1 minutes. Last season—while he only played in one regular-season game for the Knicks, an 11-point, 18-rebound performance on April 17 against the Atlanta Hawks—the source said he impressed Knicks coach Mike Woodson during his short stint.

There’s more to it, of course — Knicks management is reportedly weighing other options, one of which is Hamed Haddadi. But a detail included in this report says that Haddadi worked out for the Jazz this week, and won’t wait for the Knicks if an offer from Utah comes first.

It’s unclear if Barron is worthy of a season-long roster spot, considering the way he’s bounced around the league without ever being able to secure a more permanent opportunity following his first three seasons with the Heat from 2006-2008.

That scattered history might be the reason that the front office is tentative about pulling the trigger on signing Barron, despite the wishes of the coaching staff. Or, it could simply be that there isn’t yet a plan in place on how the team intends to fill out the remaining slots on its roster.

New York has 12 players in place with guaranteed contracts for next season.

James Harden: “I am the best player in the league. I believe that.”

James Harden, Stephen Curry
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James Harden was the MVP last season — if you ask his fellow NBA players.

The traditional award (based on a media vote) went to Stephen Curry (in the closest vote in four years), and that was the right call (in my mind). But from the time it happened Harden did not buy it. And he still doesn’t buy it. In the least — and he’s using that as fuel for this season. That’s what he told Fran Blinebury over at

“I am the best player in the league. I believe that,” he said. “I thought I was last year, too.”

Well, it’s a more realistic claim than Paul George’s.

“But that award means most valuable to your team. We finished second in the West, which nobody thought we were going to do at the beginning of the year even when everybody was healthy. We were near the top in having the most injuries. We won our division in a division where every single team made the playoffs.

“There’s so many factors. I led the league in total points scored, minutes played. Like I said, I’m not taking anything away from Steph, but I felt I deserved the Most Valuable Player. That stays with me.”

That’s very Kobe Bryant of you to turn that into fuel. Defining the MVP Award is an annual discussion that nobody agrees on.

I could get into how Harden was the old-school, traditional stats MVP, how that ignores how Steve Kerr used Curry, and how that opened up the Warriors’ offense to championship levels. Curry put up numbers, but he was also the distraction, the bright star that Kerr used to open up looks for Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and others. Curry’s strength was not just what he did with the ball in his hands, but his gravity to draw defenders even when he didn’t. Did the Warriors stay healthier than the Rockets? No doubt. Should Curry be penalized for that?

It’s simple for Harden — if he can put up those numbers again, if he can be the fulcrum of a top offense, he will be in the discussion for MVP again. And, if he can lead the Rockets beyond the conference finals, nobody will talk about that MVP snub anyway.