Former Kansas University center Cole Aldrich on Tuesday signed a contract with the NBA’s New York Knicks, Glen Grunwald, the organization’s executive vice president and general manager, reported in a news release.
No terms were disclosed, however ESPN New York’s Ian Begley said the deal is non-guaranteed, meaning the 6-foot-11, 245-pound Aldrich must make the team in training camp.
ESPN’s Nick Borges reports that, “the Knicks will be luxury tax payers in 2014 and Aldrich counts $884,293 against the salary cap should he stay on the roster until the beginning of January.”
Aldrich, 24, averaged 2.2 points and 2.7 rebounds while logging 8.6 minutes per game in 45 games last season for the Houston Rockets and Sacramento Kings. Begley says the Knicks “hope Aldrich can fill the void at backup center that was left when they traded Marcus Camby in the Andrea Bargnani deal.”
Noted Kurt Helin of NBCsports.com’s ProBasketballTalk: “The Knicks have Tyson Chandler at center, but when he goes to the bench it’s going to be a combination of Kenyon Martin and Jeremy Tyler (once he returns from foot surgery). In the short term the Knicks are looking at someone who could help along the front line (they have 14 filled roster spots and can add one more). Aldrich, Josh Powell and Ike Diogu all are going to get a chance in camp to impress Mike Woodson and staff and get that spot.”
Aldrich was drafted 10th overall by New Orleans in 2010, but his rights were dealt to Oklahoma City. He was traded from OKC to Houston in the James Harden deal last fall. The Rockets then traded him to Sacramento in a midseason deal that included KU’s Thomas Robinson.
Media Day today: Hoops season unofficially begins today with the annual Media Day in Allen Fieldhouse. It is closed to the public.
KU lost all five starters off last year’s 31-6 team, which won a ninth straight Big 12 title and advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAAs. The Jayhawks bring in six highly-regarded freshmen, plus senior transfer Tarik Black, who is immediately eligible after graduating from Memphis. KU returns rotation players Perry Ellis, Naadir Tharpe and Jamari Traylor.
“It’s been fun watching our guys grow together,” said 11th-year KU coach Bill Self, whose Jayhawks were able to practice two hours a week during summer school and two hours a week since the start of the fall semester in accordance with NCAA rules. “We have the foundation to have a good year if things fall right.
“It’s as deep a team as we’ve had. There will be somebody disappointed. They all deserve to play,” he added of players who ultimately do not make the rotation. “I’ll be honest. All our guys are doing well. It’s the longest team I’ve ever had. The big question is can we consistently make shots and make shots at the end of games. I think this team will be able to defend and create some havoc. This will be a fun team to watch.”
The team begins practice Friday in accordance with new NCAA rules.
Late Night info: The 29th-annual Late Night in the Phog will run from 6:30 p.m. to approximately 9:30 on Friday, Oct. 4, in Allen Fieldhouse, KU announced Tuesday. Admission is free. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Children 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult. Fieldhouse doors will be closed when the arena reaches capacity.
With school in session, all university parking lots will be restricted by permit only until 5 p.m., with the exception of Lot 90 located across Naismith Drive to the east, and south, of Allen Fieldhouse which will be available for public parking at 3 p.m.
During the day, public parking is available in the parking garage north of Allen Fieldhouse with hourly rates. Parking in the garage for Late Night in the Phog after 4 p.m. will be $5 per vehicle.
Fans are encouraged to bring nonperishable food items, which KU’s athletic department will donate to “Just Food” of Douglas County.
Time Warner Cable’s Metro Sports will oversee the television production of Late Night, which will be seen live on the Jayhawk TV Network, including ESPN3. It also will air on the Jayhawk Radio Network.
The event will feature music by the KU pep band, skits, videos and scrimmages by the KU men’s and women’s teams. Requests for Sign Language interpreting should be directed to Kim Bates, at email@example.com, no later than Monday.
Vaughn update: Rashad Vaughn, a 6-5 senior shooting guard from Findlay Prep High in Henderson, Nevada, who is ranked No. 7 nationally by Rivals.com, on Tuesday narrowed his list of schools to seven: KU, Minnesota, Arizona, Baylor, Iowa State, North Carolina and UNLV. He eliminated UCLA, UConn, Georgetown and Kentucky.
“I am going to Baylor (Oct.18-20) and Iowa State (Nov. 7-9). Those are set,” Vaughn told ESPN.com. “I plan to go to Kansas and North Carolina during the season (and sign in April).”