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Knicks sign Davis with June in mind

GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Baron Davis might not be in uniform until February, but the New York Knicks are looking to play deep into June. And that's when they're going to need the former All-Star point guard most.

"We just thought the risk-reward was good on this," coach Mike D'Antoni said.

After a week of speculation, the Knicks Monday signed Davis, 32, to a one-year deal at the veteran's minimum of $1.4 million. Davis, who has a herniated disc in his lower back that is expected to keep him out as long as 10 weeks, was waived by Cleveland last week and still will be paid his original $13.9-million salary by the Cavaliers.

Davis also drew interest from the Lakers and Heat but said the Knicks were his No. 1 choice. He even agreed to take the lower salary, rather than the available $2.5-million room exception, to allow the Knicks to stay in competition for forwards such as James Posey or Al Thornton.

"For me it was just the opportunity to play in New York, play at the Garden, for these fans and to play on this team ... My love for this city and for the fans and their appreciation for basketball pretty much made it a no-brainer," he said. "I mean, how can you not want to play in the Garden every game?"

The Sacramento Kings voided Chuck Hayes' $21.3 million, four-year contract Monday, saying the forward-center failed a team physical that forced his release.

Kings general manager Geoff Petrie said in a statement Monday that informing Hayes his deal had been voided was "one of the most heartbreaking moments of my professional or personal life." He said Hayes asked the team to refrain from any further comment.

The team announced last week that a heart exam on the new Kings big man showed an abnormality that would require further testing. That came days after the former Houston Rockets forward-center signed a contract with Sacramento.

Hayes, now 28, averaged 3.4 points and 4.7 rebounds in 17 minutes per game in six seasons with the Rockets. He attended Sacramento's media day Thursday and appeared fine, joking around with several teammates, but was held out of the team's preseason opener at Golden State on Saturday night.

Hayes' situation is the second time in the last week that a medical exam on an NBA player revealed cause for concern.

Boston Celtics forward Jeff Green will have surgery to repair an aortic aneurysm and will miss the entire season. Green was scheduled for an operation on Monday at the Cleveland Clinic. Doctors told him the operation "should completely repair Green's condition and that he can expect to resume his NBA career next season," the Celtics said in a news release Saturday.

Specifics of Hayes' condition have not been released.

Three-time All Star Peja Stojakovic — regarded as one of the finest shooters in NBA history — said Monday he was retiring after 13 seasons in the league, his last a championship-winning campaign with the Dallas Mavericks.

The 34-year-old said he was finding it difficult to deal with neck and back issues and felt it was time to bring an end to his career.

"When you start competing against your body more than you're preparing for the actual game, it's a wakeup call," Stojakovic said in a statement.

"I feel so blessed to have been given the athletic gifts to play professional basketball. I have always loved the game, and have great respect for it, and I know the time is right to step away."

Stojakovic ends his career in the fourth spot on the all-time three-pointers list, with 1,760. He played for the Kings, Pacers, Hornets and Mavericks and averaged 17 points per game for his career.

Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki was Monday named Germany's Sportsman of the Year, becoming the first basketball player to take the award.

In a poll of 1,500 sports journalists, the 33-year-old, who led the Mavericks to the NBA title in June and was named Finals MVP, came in ahead of Sebastien Vettel, who won the Formula 1 world title for the second straight year.

The Sportswoman of the Year award went for the second time to biathlete Magdalena Neuner, ahead of tennis player Andrea Petkovic.

The team award went to Bundesliga champions Borussia Dortmund, ahead of the German national team.