As Knicks fans count down the days until training camp opens, most are dying to read a headline that states, “The New York Knicks have agreed in principle to a contract with _________,” before the season begins. With 15 players signed, the Knicks are not obligated to sign another person, but since two of these players have non-guaranteed contracts (Chris Copeland and Chris Smith), there is room for further signings. One should expect the Knicks to sign only one player to a guaranteed contract, because this would allow Chris Copeland and Chris Smith to battle for the last spot during training camp. Without further ado, let’s take a look at potential players who could sign for the veteran’s minimum and how they could fit in with the Knicks:
Josh Howard could either be a hit or miss signing for the Knicks. If he ends up being the usual unhealthy player who can’t play more than half a season, he will be hated by the Garden crowd. If he comes back healthy and somehow returns to the level he played at in Dallas, he would be a huge addition to an already deep bench. However, Josh Howard would undoubtedly struggle to receive minutes every night behind Carmelo Anthony, even if he did have an outbreak. Looking at it from a general standpoint, it might not be a great idea to have a small forward behind Carmelo Anthony who would demand minutes. Sorry to the Josh Howard fans, but he would not be a great fit for the Knicks.
Sean Williams is a name that has just been mentioned to have ties with the New York Knicks recently. This guy is a good option, from a skills standpoint, to be the backup power forward for the Knicks. As a high energy guy who can be a decent rebounder sometimes, Williams is not afraid to do the dirty work that we all know Amar’e Stoudemire does not usually do. What is also worth considering is that he would have no problem taking the veteran’s minimum since it is doubtful that there is a team that would offer him more than that. But, of course, this is no match made in heaven. Williams has always been questioned for his immaturity and has yet to provide answers to those who doubt him. From not being in shape, to throwing up on the Mavericks bench, Williams has shown that maybe he doesn’t belong on a team that is serious about winning a title. With such a deep team already on hand, the last thing Mike Woodson should have to deal with is a question mark at the backup power-forward position. So after all, Sean Williams doesn’t seem like such a great fit.
Another name that’s been reportedly mentioned within the Knicks brass is Chris Andersen, or the “Birdman.” Standing at 6 feet 10 inches, Andersen has proven to be a great defender and tremendous shot blocker. There is no question that the Birdman would bring in the necessary energy off the bench when Amar’e steps off the floor in need of a breather. Although many people do not realize it, Andersen is more than just a great defender. He is very skilled at finishing strongly near the basket, which could be a huge weapon when the pass-first point-guards, Raymond Felton and Pablo Prigioni, are on the floor. Sadly, Chris Andersen would never be able to successfully make it as a Knick for one reason, the media. If the Knicks were to sign the Birdman to a contract, it is a shame that along with a signature and a skilled player, the Knicks would also be bringing in a child-pornography case that Chris is tangled up in. Although he has not been charged with anything as of now, the New York media would be all over him for the entire season. What the Knicks fans should be worried about is how Andersen would react to the spotlight and if he could bury it before each game. After finally returning to prominence after the Isiah Thomas era, it is obvious that the Knicks should not be involving themselves with more off-court problems that Andersen would bring.
At this point of the off-season, if you went up to a random Knicks fan and asked them, “What power-forward would you love to see the Knicks sign,” the common answer would probably be Kenyon Martin, and rightfully so. Martin is a very experienced player, and one who would make these Knicks an even physically tougher team. Even at age 34, he can still do a little bit of everything. Martin is a good defender, rebounder, and could even give the Knicks a few baskets here and there. What most should find even more important than Martin’s skill, is his relationships with most of the current Knicks. Martin has already played with Jason Kidd, Raymond Felton, J.R. Smith, Carmelo Anthony, and Marcus Camby. This would obviously allow Martin to fit right into the Knicks and build chemistry easily. But just like our previous candidates, there is a con to signing Kenyon Martin: playing time. Martin would not receive the amount of minutes on the Knicks that he will likely demand. Since some teams interested in his services would likely meet Martin’s preferred playing time, such as the Brooklyn Nets, I would be very surprised if he chose to play for the New York Knicks next season.
Most would probably read this name and ask themselves, “Could this 6 foot 9 inch power-forward really be the best fit for the New York Knicks,” and my answer to those people would be absolutely. Lou Amundson is one of those guys who should request to have his name removed from the box score every single night, simply because his stats do not do him justice. Amundson is one of the rare players in the NBA who will dive for every loose ball, box-out before every potential rebound, and never take his eyes off the basketball before it goes through the net. For the veteran’s minimum, Lou Amundson would be a tremendous bargain and undoubtedly an important signing for the New York Knicks. What separates him from the rest of the remaining power forwards in the free agent market is his flexibility. Amundson takes whatever minutes he is given and makes the most of them without any complaints. Unlike most of the guys previously stated, he will not be the cause of any problems within the locker room. Amundson simply plays the game of basketball without any strings attached.
Lou Amundson √
Out of the five free agents listed above, there is no doubt that Lou Amundson would be a tremendous signing for the New York Knicks. With the lack of depth at the power-forward position, it is very important that the Knicks go out and grab a proven bench player. Signing more than one more player to a guaranteed contract would not make much sense, since that would mean there would be no reason for neither Chris Copeland nor Chris Smith to even show up to training camp (due to the 15 players per roster maximum). With that being said, I would expect the Knicks to sign one more player before training camps open on October 2nd and fans should be excited if that player is Lou Amundson.