Vin could be a Knick soon
By FRANK ISOLA
DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITER
The agent for former Celtics power forward Vin Baker said yesterday his client should be signed by the end of the week, and that the Knicks are among Baker's top choices.
"The Knicks have a great chance," Aaron Goodwin said before the Knicks lost to the Cavs. "It's a great organization and they have number of people who are sensitive to the issues that Vin has gone through. They are also a playoff team and those are the categories we're looking for."
Detroit, Miami and Indiana are also said to be interested in Baker, who was released by the Celtics 10 days ago after being suspended for violating his drug aftercare program. Baker, a recovering alcoholic, had the final 21/2 years of his contract, worth $38 million, voided by the Celtics. Baker has filed an appeal through the Players Association, whose executive director, Billy Hunter, said yesterday that the union likely will give Baker the OK to sign with another team sometime within the next 48 hours.
"We just want to make sure it doesn't negatively impact his arbitration," Hunter said. "We hope to resolve that within the next day or so.
"If we believe it won't negatively impact it then we'll probably let him sign. If not then he may have to sit out until we get it resolved in arbitration because there is too much at stake. We have $38 million at stake and I can't take a chance on jeopardizing that by letting him sign a minimum salary with one of those teams."
If the 6-11 Baker is healthy, he can become the low post presence the Knicks covet. Before being released by Boston, Baker told several friends in the NBA that he would sign with the Knicks.
Baker was in New York last week but Goodwin denied that his client met with Knicks officials. Asked if such a meeting is scheduled to take place, Goodwin smiled and said, "No."
"Objectively, we'll look at what would be the best opportunity for him to better himself for next year," Goodwin said. "After all, he's a free agent."
Do the Pacers need Vin Baker? I don't think so. We have a good group of players and we don't need an alcoholic