The New York Knicks, after their great start, are still searching to get that perfect mix on the court and healthy at the same time. Amar’e Stoudemire looks better than expected in his limited minutes upon his return and is slowly proving to the doubters that he can coincide successfully with Carmelo Anthony. We can explore all possibilities and while even though the team will most likely be inclined to make minor moves, a small addition may make all the difference in improving the roster.
In early January, SI reported that there was a link between the Knicks and free-agent Kenyon Martin. This is one of those minor moves that can provide a major upgrade to the Knicks. With so much uncertainty still surrounding injured big men Rasheed Wallace and Marcus Camby, the Knicks could afford to give an interior presence such as K-Mart a chance to get back into the NBA.
There is also a level of uncertainty about Martin as he hasn’t played this season in addition to reported attitude issues, but I don’t think either would pose a problem. Martin saw a slight decline last year, but still proved to be a valuable defender and I don’t think most people would doubt that he has the ability to perform on the same level as Wallace and Camby. The fit in New York extends beyond replacing injured Knicks too, as Martin should easily be able to gel with a strong core of veterans, including some of his ex-Nuggets teammates in Carmelo Anthony, J.R. Smith, and the aforementioned Camby. The marriage between the team and K-Mart may be a little further off than it should be, as Martin is reportedly seeking more than the veteran’s minimum, so there will have to be some sacrifices for this to become a reality.
So long as Wallace is out, the Knicks can also give a look to their undrafted rookie Henry Sims. Currently on the Erie Bayhawks, the Knicks D-League affiliate, Sims is nearly averaging 17 ppg and 9 rpg with over a block a game as well. He has also been coming
on strong of late, recording four straight double-double performances. If there were ever a time to see what Sims could bring to the table, it would be now. Compared to all the oft-injured and older bodies the Knicks currently are rotating in the front court, it would be a nice change of pace to see the 6’10”, fresh-legged 22-year-old get a shot to provide reliable minutes.
The Knicks should also look at some potential trade opportunities. Marreese Speights, who was recently traded from Memphis to Cleveland, is a solid target that would make sense. Speights has a player option of $4.5MM for next season; an option that the Cavs would be best served not risking him declining after the season since they aren’t contenders this year. It would be ideal for them to get some value this year for him if they have an indication that he wont pick up the option, since his part in their rebuilding process isn’t guaranteed. Speights would serve the Knicks well as a 6’10” rebounder and shot blocker, who in his 4 games in Cleveland has also showed some offensive ability with 14 ppg. There would have to be a little creativity with the cap, but it could be a worthwhile idea if the Knicks could make it work and Cleveland is willing.