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Camby Signs Multi-Yr Extension

New York Knicks forward Marcus Camby, who has shown flashes of greatness within his inconsistency, Thursday signed a multi-year contract extension.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. As the second pick in the 1996 draft, Camby was eligible to become a free agent July 1 had the Knicks not beaten the Saturday deadline and signed him to the extension, which could be worth $71 million for a maximum of six years.

The 6-11 Camby is averaging 5.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.76 blocks in 17 games this season, his first in New York. He was acquired last June from the Toronto Raptors for forward Charles Oakley, who in 10 years with the Knicks had won over fans with his hustle and toughness.

Camby, 24, led the NBA in blocks per game last season but missed 19 games with a variety of ailments. He did not endear himself to Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy when he sat out a scrimmage with a foot blister. He has slowly worked his way into the rotation, although he did not play in a loss to Miami last week.

"Marcus is one of the most promising young players in the league and we are looking forward to having him play a major role in our future plans," Knicks president Ernie Grunfeld said. "We are happy that he has shown his desire to remain here in New York."

Camby averaged 14.8 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.1 blocks in his 1996-97 rookie campaign. Last season, he averaged 12.1 points and 7.4 rebounds while leading the NBA with 3.7 blocks.

However, Camby missed 19 games in each season as his diet and work ethic were questioned. He was hospitalized after fainting while practicing prior to a game, a repeat of an incident from his collegiate days at Massachusetts.

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