WASHINGTON, DC – Just a few months ago Dwayne Bacon ended his fourth season in the NBA by playing every game for the Orlando Magic, starting with 50 of them. But in the kind of lesson that reminds players that the NBA is a business, he found himself in training camp with the Knicks trying to fight for 15th and last place on the list.
Bacon was cut by the Magic in August and 10 days later was signed to an unsecured contract with the Knicks. Now he finds himself competing not only with the players currently in camp but with names that are floating as much as possible to be cut off from other teams.
“It’s not really weird,” Bacon said after the Knicks ’morning shootaround at Georgetown University’s John R. Thompson Center. “But that’s what’s happening. Maybe this summer isn’t my time.
“It doesn’t mean I’m done with the league. I started 50 games, I played all 72. I’ll be available. But you know you just have to play it, do my part, do what I can be the best of me. That’s what I did this summer – got better. So I feel better. I’m in better shape than last year, and I’ve played 72 games. So I have to keep going. ”
He hasn’t gotten a chance in games yet, but none of the many of the players he’s fighting for a place. In the Knicks ’117-99 win against the Wizards at CapitalOne Arena on Saturday night, the most impressive performance may have come from rookie Jerico Sims. He is currently on a two-way contract, but if the injuries last for Mitchell Robinson or Nerlens Noel, it could be changed.
The Knicks have 14 guaranteed contracts and a couple of two hundred deals. At camp, Bacon and Wayne Selden are the most likely candidates, but coach Tom Thibodeau said last week that the front office is looking at the league to see who can be used.
“We have a number of people fighting here. He’s a great competitor and obviously his length, his wing play,” Thibodeau said, referring to Bacon. “Wayne Selden is awesome, along with Dwayne. Both guys are really solid veterans that can be added to a team. And we have a couple of boys there – MJ Walker played well. Aamir [Simms] played well. So this is what the team needs and how it fits into the team and what you’re looking for from that 15th year.
“And to me, that position, the thing that’s probably the most important thing is how you train each day. What do you bring to the team? So a lot goes into it and what’s best for us. And we’re ‘ I will wait until the end to make that decision. ”
Bacon is looking for an opportunity to prove himself in a game, having been kept on the bench until now. He averaged 10.9 points per game but only shot 28.5% from three-point range after shooting 43.7% in his second year in the league. But as Thibodeau said, proving themselves in practice is just as important for players trying to find a place.
“I can score the ball,” Bacon said. “I can defend. I can be the man of that locker room. I wake up every day, I smile, just because I’m lucky to be in this situation. When my number is called, I’ll take care of business” And in the same way, when everyone’s not there, I take care of the business sitting around cheering everyone on. That’s all my role now. ”
He had a close relationship with Kemba Walker, whom he spent the first two seasons of his career in Charlotte.
“Me and Kemba don’t talk about things like this,” Bacon said. “He doesn’t have to call and say, ‘Hey, yeah, we want you.’ Kemba and I had a relationship from Charlotte.She was my vet my rookie year and I had her for two years before she went to Boston.And we just built a great relationship.
“He saw what kind of man I was, a worker, always kept the locker room fun and happy. It was in contact with a fraternity. He was a man I can’t really explain, he helped me a lot, helped my family He’s just a lot of people you really don’t hurt too much, and I’m just lucky to have the friendship we have. “