The New York Knicks front office has made it very difficult for fans and spectators alike to anticipate their next move in rebuilding the organization. In the wake of the 2014 NBA Draft, we witnessed an attempt to acquire a player that would help make up for the deficit around the center position. After witnessing the draft pick of Louis Labeyrie, there is no feeling of assurance that helps to make sense out of the decision to rid the Knicks of its starting center.
The loss of the former Defensive Player of the Year, Tyson Chandler, was due to a trade involving the Dallas Mavericks. Samuel Dalembert is the center coming over from the Mavericks and is expected to replace Chandler temporarily as other pieces are obtained.
Chandler’s performance drew in many accolades, such as 2012 Fiba champion, 2012 Olympic gold winner and of course the DPOY. Dalembert’s awards are nonexistent and the only significant career statistic that he beats Chandler in is blocks per game. He’ll have to put forward a lot of effort to consistently play minutes for the Knicks. He provides enthusiasm and a heavier body than Chandler, at 250 pounds in comparison to Chandler’s 230 pounds. Dalembert isn’t a bad pick up, but he has big shoes to fill as the primary center especially if no moves are made to bring in more players.
Free agency is more important than ever right now. The Knicks have good individual players from the point guard to the power forward, but all positions must be filled and with players that flourish in them. Without a staple at the center position, I don’t predict seeing them conquer the Atlantic division, let alone the NBA finals.
Phil Jackson’s draft decisions must’ve been heavily dependent on receiving talent from the long list of free agents, which was seen in his attempt to reach out to Los Angeles Laker Pau Gasol. Carmelo Anthony is definitely on board with the plan to bring over Gasol. Anthony is even expected to take less than his $129 million, 5-year contract to leave salary room for players of Gasol’s caliber. He openly expressed his desire to play with the two-time champion that once played alongside his coach to be, Derek Fisher.
Expectations are high for Gasol, who once thrived in Jackson’s offensive system, to play at a high level once again through the primary leadership from Fisher this time around.
If Gasol comes to New York he would instantly present a huge offensive threat, something Chandler could not do. Chandler was dangerous when open for possible alley-oop conversions but never really developed his post moves, footwork and one-on-one game. His defense is respected league wide, but that has only helped take them to the second round of playoffs at best. Gasol’s skill around the basket would help to complete the Knicks’ offense, which is filled with talented guards that can find many ways to score, but has minimal post options.
Gasol sounds like a great addition to the Knicks, but to think he would be satisfied with a considerable decrease in his salary sounds unrealistic. If he decided to join the Knicks then it would be through a mini mid-level exception agreement and he wouldn’t even receive $4 million for this upcoming season. The last time his salary was this low was the 2003-04 season and was a member of the Memphis Grizzlies. About ten years later he has won NBA championships and established himself as one the most respected, premier centers and is most likely expecting more money.
Obtaining Gasol may be a long shot, but if the Knicks want a chance at making a championship run this year then it’s one of the best options available.