Jonathan Bender Signed by Knicks; Donnie Walsh says "F-You, D-League!"

Yes, I have been sitting in this chair for the past four years. Alternate Caption: Well, his nickname is Jon-Jon, so that's... something, probably.

Wow.

Just wow.

Jonathan Bender signed to a non-guaranteed contract with the Knicks.

I'm at a loss for words.  With me, I assume so is every player in the NBA D-League, every player playing anywhere overseas, and every player that has heard that the fastest way back to the league is honing your skills in the D-League.  With the Von Wafer to Memphis deal coming soon and Bender being signed by the Knicks, it seems I'm closer to a call-up than Dontell Jefferson.

I think it's safe to say that after Donnie Walsh tried out about ten different D-League guys since April (Chris Hunter, Mouhamed Sene, Joe Crawford, Courtney Sims, Demetris Nichols, Blake Ahearn, Patrick Ewing Jr., Ron Howard, David Noel and Yaroslav Korolev), Donnie Walsh hates the D-League.

Or really wanted to make a splash in the New York media AND hates the D-League.

How else do you explain signing Jonathan Bender, a 6'11", 28 year old project that hasn't played a professional basketball game since November 5, 2005?  A player that averaged 5.6 points and shot 41% from the field over seven injury-plagued seasons?

Also, Knicks fans, this isn't really the "low risk, high reward" deal it's being bragged up as.  Keep in mind, now that Bender will be an eighth-year veteran, he'll be making a pro-rated salary of $1,181,803.  Had you signed a D-Leaguer without any NBA experience, however, it'd have cost you $457,588.  A lot less risk with that, if I'm qualified to talk about risks.

If I was Donnie Walsh (and I'm not), I would have called-up Anthony Tolliver from the D-League's Idaho Stampede.  The 6'10" Tolliver is averaging 21.4 points, 11 rebounds and has the inside-outside game that Bender can probably bring, sans injury history and without the four-years-of-not-playing-basketball rust.

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