Marcus Camby would have been perfect but I didn’t envision the Knicks competing with a 2 year, $20 million offer for a 36 year old. But the fact that Camby banked that much cash speaks to how thin the market is for legitimate defensive centers. Alan Hahn put together a list of bigs for the Fix yesterday and it’s pretty exhaustive. The list included was populated with power forwards and centers and included Amar’e Stoudemire, Chris Bosh, Udonis Haslem, Amir Johnson, Ty Thomas, Chris Kaman, Brendan Haywood, Sam Dalembert, Emaka Okafor, Tyson Chandler, Brad Miller, Shaq, and Jermaine. I’d add the Warriors’ Andris Biedrins, the Rockets Luis Scola, and Tiaggo Splitter, the Argentinian center currently playing in Europe whose rights belong to the Spurs, to the list.
Marc Berman wrote that the Knicks fallback could be Brad Miller. Miller is slightly younger than Camby but is still a very slow 34. Unlike Camby, he does not block shots and he does not accumulate rebounds. It’s true he’s a gifted passer and shooter but so is David Lee. Those weren’t the Knicks’ problems last year. The Knicks need defense in the front court and if the Knicks do come away with only Miller, Berman is going to kill Miller and Donnie Walsh once he realizes that signing Miller accomplished nothing to address that need.
I won’t address every player on the list above but here is my take on a few of them:
- I’d be happy with either Amare or Bosh. Amare isn’t much of a defender either but he brings an intensity and a nasty demeanor that the Knicks have been lacking.
- Amir Johnson would be a good get for the bench. He oozes potential and was once compared to a young Kevin Garnett. We’ll see. He can’t be the only guy the Knicks get for their front court.
- I could see the Knicks addressing their two main needs in one fell swoop by trading for Kaman and Baron Davis. I wouldn’t make the trade unless Eddy Curry was a part of it so that the Knicks retain some flexibility.
- Haywood is a tough, shot blocking, rebounding defensive big. I’d like to see him here.
- If it is unlikely that the Knicks would give Camby $10 million I can’t see them being willing to give it to Dalembert unless the Sixers really make it worth the Knicks’ while somehow.
- I like the idea of trading for Tyson Chandler who will be in the final year of his contract so concerns about his injury history are somewhat mitigated. I’d try to expand the package and get Gerald Wallace. A front court of Chandler, Wallace and Gallo would be pretty nasty.
- Splitter belongs to the Spurs but he isn’t signed to a contract. According to DraftExpress, Splitter has a reputation as a ferocious defender and rebounder who is nice around the basket on offense. He has an opt-out this summer with his European team and if the Spurs can’t put together a financially impressive deal they might lose him for many years if he chooses to sign an extension overseas. The Spurs are over the cap and can only offer Splitter their mid-level exception. That may very well be enough to get him to the States but if it isn’t the Spurs could explore moving him to a team that is under the cap rather than getting nothing for him for several years or maybe ever. That begs the question though, not having played in an NBA game, how does one gauge whether he is worth more than the mid-level?
- Don’t forget about Eddy Curry…[vomit].
While it seems like the market is slowly drying up and certainly its discouraging that the Knicks won’t be able to woo the likes of Manu Ginobili or Marcus Camby, there remain options to improve the team.