With an open roster spot after John Henson’s contract expired Thursday at midnight, the Knicks are leaning toward making a backcourt add instead of another big man, according to league sources.
One point guard on their radar is a longtime European standout, Mike James, who has played the last two seasons for CSKA Moscow, shooting over 40-percent from 3-point range.
It is unclear how the news of Alec Burks being put into COVID-19 health and safety protocols will affect the Knicks’ decision making.
This season, the 30-year-old James is averaging 19.3 points and 4.7 assists in 27 Euro-League games.
In late March, however, James was suspended following an altercation with head coach Dimitris Itoudis, and left Moscow reportedly for the Pacific Northwest to pursue the NBA again. He technically still is under contract.
“I can’t wait to retire and not talk to none of y’all anymore,” James tweeted after the ban, “Me wifey and Zeus minding our business.”
James has also played in Spain, Greece and Italy. The Knicks are one of the few NBA clubs still with a full-time European scout living abroad in Kevin Wilson.
James, a Portland product who played his college ball at Lamar, has only 36 games in the NBA, during the 2017-18 season with New Orleans and Phoenix. He shot only 27 percent from 3 in that season, but has improved his long-range shooting.
The Knicks feel they can make do up front with a three-headed center tandem of Nerlens Noel, Taj Gibson and Norvel Pelle.
If they add James, it also could be as an audition for next season. Their current point guards — Elfrid Payton, Derrick Rose and Frank Nilikina — are all free agents this summer.
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