James Dolan has no use for Larry Brown, who lasted only one season at the Garden and made off with close to $20 million of Dolan's money in a settlement. But Rasheed Wallace still has a soft spot in his heart for his former Detroit Pistons coach.

"If I still had eligibility left, I'd be playing for Larry," said Wallace, who signed with the Knicks on Wednesday.

Brown is coaching on the college level these days at SMU, so Wallace's only viable option to return to the NBA was for his second-favorite coach, the Knicks' Mike Woodson. The chance to play for Woodson, Brown's top aide in Detroit when the Pistons won a championship with Wallace in 2004, was the No. 1 factor in the four-time All-Star deciding to come out of retirement.

Whether Wallace, 38, can stick as a backup for Amar'e Stoudemire, after sitting out the last two seasons, will be determined over the next several weeks of training camp. He retired after spending the 2009-10 season with Boston and had no intentions of returning to the NBA until Woodson started contacting him last spring.

"We've been talking over the last six, seven months and he's told me his plans and his ideas," Wallace said. "I just want to see if I can fit in there somewhere. Like they say, get in where you fit in."

Athough Wallace was expected to get the veteran's minimum of $1.7 million, Woodson made it seem as if this will be a tryout. "Only time will tell," Woodson said after practice in Greenburgh. "There's nothing guaranteed or definite. But it will be worth it to look to see, from a coaching standpoint, if he can still play and help us."

That question might have taken on even bigger implications for Woodson, once it was brought to his attention by media members that Wallace has been out for the last two seasons and not just this past season. But that didn't seem to matter to Woodson, since he still believes that Wallace's experience and defensive talents can help the Knicks, even if it's only for a few minutes a game for a team that has championship aspirations.