Hoping for a Christmas Miracle, Knicks Take a Chance on Jonathan Bender

December 22nd, 2009 by Keith Schlosser Leave a reply »

For months, Donnie Walsh had been “saving” the (not-so coveted) 15th and final roster  spot on the Knicks.

After recently bypassing roster additions, most notably Allen Iverson, Walsh’s ultimate plan for the spot was unveiled as the Knicks took a chance by signing Jonathan Bender last week.

Bender, who was forced to retire after the 2005-06 season due to persistent knee problems, was the fifth overall selection of the 1999 NBA Draft by Walsh’s Pacers.

Since his retirement, he had been rehabbing his knee, with a comeback attempt always in the back of his mind. Walsh, obviously intrigued due to their history, invited Bender to work out for team officials this past summer.

"My potential is still enormous and I can still do a lot for a team," Bender told ESPN.com in July.

Coach Mike D’Antoni was visibly impressed.

“I thought he was ready to go then,” D’Antoni said of Bender at his summer workout. “I was trying to get excited for him in September.”

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