Phil Jackson addressed a major need for the New York Knicks when Derrick Rose was acquired, but what about the center position?
With the most noticeable need being addressed by team president Phil Jackson, the New York Knicks can now focus on the next step. Last week, the Knicks made an unprecedented blockbuster trade to acquire guard Derrick Rose from the Chicago Bulls. New York sent Jerian Grant, Jose Calderon, and Robin Lopez to Chicago in the deal for Rose.
It was a deal that New York clearly won, but simultaneously lost some value with.
Losing an established center in Lopez definitely sets them back in terms of roster depth. This is especially the case in the front-court. Currently, they have Kyle O’Quinn and Kristaps Porzingis. Both guys have spent significant time at the center position.
There are two dilemmas that instantly come to mind:
- You want Porzingis at his natural position (power forward).
- O’Quinn by himself is not nearly enough to compete with other big men in the East.
The good thing is there has been some mutual interest between the Knicks and free-agent centers.
I was told Joakim Noah is top name, followed by Dwight Howard… would be surprised if Knicks don't get one of them. https://t.co/QJoG3iETgr
— Steve Kyler (@stevekylerNBA) June 26, 2016
In reality, Joakim Noah is the best option available for New York.
Hassan Whiteside is arguably the best center available, but he’ll demand max contract money. Noah, should he become New York City bound, would be reunited with his former Bulls teammate and also have a star in Carmelo Anthony.
In a possible scenario, Noah would be more likely to sign for slightly less money.
When it comes to Dwight Howard, how much does he have left in the tank? Plus, he declined a $23.2 million player option with the Houston Rockets. That’s what he is going to be expecting at the very least for his next team. This is entirely too much money for him and what he provides at the age of 30 with his prime years clearly behind him.
Noah is, indeed, a bit of a risk as well. He is coming off a season where he played in only 29 games due to a shoulder injury. Assuming that he is returning fully healthy, Noah instantly brings a combination of hustle and passion that has been missing in the Knicks front-court for some time.
It isn’t Noah or bust this off-season, but it just makes sense.
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If all fails there is still Pau Gasol, who obviously already has a relationship with Jackson from his tenure with the Los Angeles Lakers. A 36-year-old Gasol would basically add a double-double on a nightly basis and wouldn’t request for as much money as the others.
There is still hope that New York can somehow lure Kevin Durant to Madison Square Garden, but there are a plethora of teams that are also in the hunt for the star. Regardless, if Durant signs with New York or not, the biggest need at the moment is center.
One thing is for certain: Whoever is brought in there will have to be some statistical sacrifices. With an aging superstar, and an injury-prone point guard, just any center can’t be placed in the lineup. There has to be someone who will be productive.
Noah offers the Knicks everything they need defensively without disturbing their offensive scheme under new head coach Jeff Hornacek.