NEW YORK -- New York Knicks' first-round draft pick Jerrod Mustaf is going to play in Europe. In Spain, to be precise.
But it will be with the Knicks in the McDonald's Open, so calm down. The former Maryland Terrapin isn't taking the Danny Ferry route.
"It came at the right time," said Mustaf, who yesterday signed a four-year deal worth $2.24 million, and then immediately began practicing with the team, which leaves for Spain on Sunday. It was learned that Mustaf sought about $700,000 a year for three years; the Knicks couldn't meet that demand, but provided an extra year's security.
"I'm happy everything's over with. Everything went well. Then it became just a matter of me coming up [from Maryland]," said Mustaf, selected 17th on the first round after bolting from Maryland because of the crippling NCAA sanctions against the school. "It's something both sides are happy with."
Mustaf, at 6 feet 10 and a summer-bulked 240 pounds, came across as extremely confident and self-assured following his initial workout at SUNY-Purchase yesterday.
"He's a very mature, deliberate, intelligent young man," said attorney Wayne Curry, a family friend who represented Mustaf after the Pro-Serv agency was ditched in mid-September. "We drove up [Wednesday night] and had a good feeling."
So what amounted to a two-day absence ended -- just in time for the preseason trip to Europe.
"I don't know exactly what my role will be, but I want to come in and exceed expectations," said Mustaf, whom the Knicks plan to use at both forward positions in what figures to be a gradual breaking-in process. "I think my strength is a combination of everything."
The Knicks are stockpiled at small forward with Mustaf, Kenny Walker, Kiki Vandeweghe (who's healthy) and Brian Quinnett.