The Knicks and free-agent center Earl Barron who joined the team late last season have strong mutual interest according to a source close to the player.

"He wants to be back in New York. There has been a lot of interest and that's with them and with them to us" the source said. "I think it's just going to be one of those wait situations where I think the signing of Jeremy Tyler didn't really knock [Barron] out of it but it slowed the process up for him for sure."

"But Earl wants to be a Knick. He's waiting for the Knicks to pull the trigger. He thinks that the Knicks will have a chance to win a championship and he wants to be a part of it."

While the Knicks signed Tyler 22 to a two-year non-guaranteed contract they still could use a seasoned backup center like the 7-0 Barron a solid rebounder and rim protector who could play key minutes off the bench depending on the matchup. That's especially true for when the Knicks face the Nets and Pacers who both upgraded their frontcourt. Overall the group of serviceable big men available is slim.

The source said five other NBA teams have invited Barron to training camp this fall but the Knicks remain the priority. In fact both sides have met "a couple of times already" this summer according to the source.

Barron 32 appeared in seven games (six starts) for the Knicks in 2009-10 averaging 11.7 points and 11.0 rebounds over 33.1 minutes. Last season while he only played in one regular-season game for the Knicks -- an 11-point 18-rebound performance on April 17 against the Hawks -- the source said he impressed Mike Woodson during his short stint.

"I think Mike Woodson likes him a lot because of the professionalism he showed this year" the source said. "He went from a vacation -- a weekend trip with his family -- to flying into D.C. drove to the airport and flew to New York and got in at midnight. He worked out for the coaches at 6 o'clock that morning took the physical after that and then played 36 minutes that same night and he had almost 20 boards. Earl kept his body right."

The source said it's "hard to tell" what move the Knicks will make next.

"I don't know what they're searching for" he said. "I do know that a lot of the Knicks' brass wants Earl there."