Former Knick Jerome Jordan will be playing on the team's summer league squad in 2013, but he also envisions a key role with the organization entering next season.
And he has a confident message for them.
"I'm ready to play," Jordan told ESPNNewYork.com. "It was a tough year with the team [in 2011-12]. There was a lot of pressure. I'm just trying to be physically and mentally ready to play on both ends of the floor. Defensively, block shots and rebound, and then on the offensive end, just try to be comfortable out there."
In 2011-12, the 26-year-old appeared in 21 games with the Knicks, averaging two points in about five minutes of action. He was then traded, along with Toney Douglas, Josh Harrellson and a second-round pick in 2014 and 2015, for Marcus Camby.
Because of the deal, Jordan couldn't re-sign with the Knicks until this July. Under CBA rules, players who are traded and subsequently waived can't re-join the team that traded them for one year or until the end date of their contract.
Now, the Knicks want to take another look at Jordan after he was one of the top big men in the D-League this past season. Playing for the Reno Bighorns and Los Angeles D-Fenders, Jordan averaged 13 points (on 59.2 percent shooting), 7.7 rebounds and 2.1 blocks. The 7-0, 253-pound Jordan, who has a knock-down pick-and-pop jump shot and covers the court well defensively with his athleticism, improved in a few areas offensively. He fine-tuned his hook shots, drop-step moves and an occasional turnaround jumper, an offensive package the Knicks could use in the low post.
"Jerome Jordan is a pretty good basketball player," a veteran NBA scout said. "He's very mobile and agile."
Jordan said he was actually "so close" to signing with the Grizzlies last fall, which encouraged him to stay stateside for an NBA opportunity instead of going overseas. He had good contract offers in Spain, Turkey and the Philippines, but took less money to play in the D-League. Jordan thought it was a positive move.
"I think it helped," he said. "It was a different experience just to go down there and play a lot of minutes. A lot of guys come down there and sacrifice something. They could've gone overseas and probably do better financially, but you've just got to work hard and trust that it will all pay off. I think it will pay off."
Jordan's agent, Todd Ramasar, believes his client will start next season on an NBA roster. Ramasar feels Jordan just needs playing time to grow into his potential.
"You can work as a player doing individual workouts all day, but if you can't apply them through a game setting, you won't have very much growth," Ramasar said. "Bigs take longer to develop and need game-time reps."
These days, Jordan is spending his fourth straight summer in the Los Angeles area, working out for the first time at the popular 360 Health Club in Reseda, Calif. His trainer is Byron Scott's son, Thomas, who is based out of New York.
The Knicks aren't the only team interested in Jordan, who would likely come cheap for a one-year deal. Next week, he's taking part in a free-agent minicamp with the Spurs, followed by the Pacers and Mavericks. The Pacers, in fact, will suit up Jordan for their summer league team in Orlando.
The Knicks might need to snatch Jordan up, so he's not also contributing to the board games the Pacers won against the Knicks in this year's playoffs.
You can follow Jared Zwerling on Twitter.