- Andrew Marchand, ESPN Senior Writer
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With his arthritic left knee feeling pain free for the first time in years, Allan Houston is now "90 to 95 percent" sure he will return to the NBA this season, his agent, Bill Strickland told 1050 ESPN Radio in New York.
Strickland said Houston will hold a private workout with "several" NBA clubs next Tuesday before finalizing his plans.
"He is going to make a pretty quick decision," Strickland said.
The Cleveland Cavaliers and Dallas Mavericks are two teams that are reportedly interested. There has been speculation that Boston, Phoenix, Miami, New Jersey and San Antonio could be landing spots. Strickland declined to reveal which teams will be at the workout.
While Strickland has had conversations with Knicks president and coach Isiah Thomas, it is unlikely that Houston will return to his old team. The Knicks already have 17 players for a roster that can only contain 15.
"Isiah's made it clear that Allan would have to compete [for a spot on the team,]" Strickland said.
Knicks vice president of public relations Jonathan Supranowitz praised Houston, calling him "one of our all-time greats," but declined to answer if the team was interested in a reunion.
Houston, 36, wants to return to the NBA because he did not leave by choice. A little less than two years ago, Houston retired because of an arthritic left knee. He has not played a full NBA season since 2002-03, when he scored a career-high 22.5 points per game. Over the next two years, he only played 70 games. For his career, Houston averaged 17.3 points per game.
When scouts watch Houston's workout, Strickland said they will see a player whose left knee is "pain free." Houston would likely only play 15 to 20 minutes per game.
Strickland said that Houston is not returning for money. Houston's last contract was for $100 million. Strickland said that the chance to mentor younger players would play a big part in Houston's decision-making.
Strickland raised the possibility that Houston could pull a Roger Clemens and make an in-season return, but Strickland said Houston prefers to start the season with his new team.
Last season, Houston was an NBA analyst for ESPN.
Andrew Marchand is the managing editor of 1050 ESPN Radio in New York City.
11hMarc Stein and Calvin Watkins