Knicks lose Ben McLemore after surprising move

The Lakers signed another player in the buyout market that could have reinforced the Knicks’ scoring woes.

Guard Ben McLemore, fired by the Rockets, heads to Los Angeles. McLemore’s agent is Rich Paul, who helps lead the Lakers with LeBron James and Anthony Davis on the team.

The Knicks resigned a client of Paul, Terrence Ferguson, after the Austin Rivers deal trade deadline. That opened two spots on the list for the Knicks.

Sources had indicated that the Knicks were looking for a winger scorer to fill their 15th spot on the list, but surprisingly they signed another type of center in John Henson on Monday to a 10-day contract.

That change in plans could have been because the other signer, blocking center Norvel Pelle, dislocated his finger on his debut Saturday.

Ben McLemore
Ben McLemore
NBAE via Getty Images

There may have been concerns about Pelle playing with the handicap of having his fingers bandaged, although he did so effectively on Saturday.

Henson, an eight-year veteran who has yet to play, has a different skill set than Pelle as someone who can shoot from deep.

A source said the Knicks also signed Henson for his character and that they fit the bill.

The Knicks, who face the Celtics in Boston on Wednesday, can make a decision between Pelle and Henson once their 10-day contracts expire.

“Both guys [Pelle and Henson] they are insurance for us, ” said Tom Thibodeau. “We like the size, we like the ability to block shots, which we think is critical. And it gives us the opportunity to see them.”

The Knicks didn’t add a goalie by the March 25 deadline, but they did open two spots on the list. You cannot resign a player after April 9 and remain eligible for the entry event or playoffs after signing as a free agent.

If the season ended on Tuesday, the Knicks and Celtics would fight in the inning event. No one expected the Celtics (25-25) and Knicks (25-26) to be competing for the final playoff / play-in position in April. But here they are with the Celtics welcoming their opponents on Wednesday in seventh place, half a game ahead of the Knicks, who are in eighth place.

In the strange entry format featuring the 7-10 seeds, the 7-8 teams square off. The winner is automatically in the playoffs. The loser faces the winner of the battle 9-10.


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