GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- The New York Knicks have officially moved on from the LeBron James saga, holding a news conference on Monday to introduce four new players: Raymond Felton, Anthony Randolph, Ronny Turiaf and Kelenna Azubuike.
A fifth addition, 7-foot-1 Russian center Timofey Mozgov, did not attend because his new contract and his buyout from his former team, Khimki Moscow, has not yet been completed.
Knicks GM Donnie Walsh said the Knicks still have $2-3 million in available salary-cap space, a number that will grow into max room by next summer when the contracts of Eddy Curry ($11.3 million) and Azubuike ($3.3 million) come off the books.
We won't know whether next summer will be known as the Summer of Carmelo until we learn whether Carmelo Anthony accepts a contract extension from the Denver Nuggets, but that didn't stop Walsh from trying to make a preemptive strike against the reporters who surmised two years ago that he would spend the 2008-09 and 2009-10 season clearing cap space to make a run at James (which is exactly, despite his repeated protestations, what he did).
"I want to talk about that, and it's a different conversation than I had with you guys two years ago. So when you finish this, don't go out and say 'A Name' -- and after two years or one year we're all focused on that one name. Because the guys I'm bringing here now are meant to come here and stay here. In other words, they're the kind of players you'd want even if you did have the cap flexibility to go out and get another player," Walsh said.
"So it isn't like everyone should be looking over their shoulder. The days of just basically making deals to clear cap space are for the most part over. That doesn't mean you won't do it again, but that isn't the prime motivating factor. These guys are on the team because they have ability, because they can be part of a good situation. And now our opportunity is to look and see if you're going to be optimistic that all of them can go forward as we add players to make the team better."
After negotiations on a three-year deal hit a roadblock, Felton ended up signing a two-year contract worth nearly $15 million.
Randolph is going into the third year of his rookie-scale contract and will make $1.96 million next season. Turiaf will earn $4 million next season, and he has a player option worth $4.36 million for 2011-12.
Walsh also revealed that he attempted to trade for Felton last season but was told by Charlotte Bobcats coach Larry Brown, "Donnie, I can't trade his heart."
Felton will become the Knicks' starting point guard, backed up by Toney Douglas, in a starting five that will likely include Wilson Chandler at shooting guard, Danilo Gallinari at small forward, Amare Stoudemire at power forward and Curry/Turiaf at center.
Randolph will be the backup power forward and will play alongside Stoudemire at times, Azubuike will battle Bill Walker for minutes as the backup swingman, and rookies Landry Fields, Jerome Jordan, Andy Rautins and Mozgov will attempt to crack the rotation.
Mozgov is expected to sign a three-year, $9 million deal, but not all of the money will be guaranteed.
"He can go outside and inside," Walsh said. "Obviously Europeans don't play the same post-up game we have, and because of his youth and size, I think he'll probably need work on his low-post offensive game. But other than that, he can shoot, he can take it to the goal, he can dribble, he can pass, he's got a total all-around game, and he's very mobile for a guy who's 7-foot-1. So I think he's a great prospect."
"Reading some of the articles that some of you wrote, people are saying he's the best prospect in Europe. I hadn't heard that before, but I'm OK with it."
Walsh also said there had been "a mix-up of some kind" recently between the Knicks and the representatives of center Earl Barron, who played the final seven games of last season with New York, but that the Knicks were still interested in re-signing the 7-footer.
Chris Sheridan is a senior NBA writer for ESPN.com.