The Knicks still have a lot of pieces to be filled on their roster. They need a third-string point guard behind Raymond Felton and Pablo Prigioni, a small forward backing up Carmelo Anthony, and a center backing up Tyson Chandler. Nine days into free agency, a lot of moves have been made by all teams across the NBA and the list of solid free agents has dwindled especially at the center position. Here’s why the 6’11, 32 year old Samuel Dalembert is a viable option for the Knicks.
Career (10 Years): 25.2 MIN 8.0 PTS, 52% FG 70.4% FT, 8.1 REB, 1.8 BLK
Best Year (’07-’08): 33.2 MIN, 10.5 PTS, 51.3% FG, 70.7% FT 10.4 REB, 2.3 BLK
Last Year (’12-’13): 16.3 MIN, 6.7 PTS 54.2% FG, 69.1% FT, 5.9 REB, 1.1 BLK
1. Dalembert can help on the defensive end.
After the Knicks acquired Andrea Bargnani from the Raptors, fans knew that while he could add some great scoring on the offensive end, he would not be of much help on the defensive end. The same goes for Amare Stoudemire whose offensive ability can really help the Knicks but defensively is a liability. Dalembert is the opposite. He does not have much talent on the offensive end but has proven in his 10 year career that he is above-average defender averaging close to 2 blocks a game.
If Mike Woodson played Dalembert and Tyson Chandler at the same time, that would be very tough for opposing scorers to get a shot off in the paint. But even if Dalembert is just used in the backup role and gets 10-15 minutes a game, there will always be a big guy in the game that could protect the rim. This was the problem when the Knicks faced the Indiana Pacers in the second round of this years playoffs because when Chandler came out of the game, Kenyon Martin was no match for stronger and taller Roy Hibbert.
2. He could realistically be affordable for the Knicks to sign
Dalembert in his prime years was getting paid over $10 million a year with the Philadelphia Sixers and made close to $7 million last year with the Milwaukee Bucks. He lost a fair share of his minutes with the rise of Larry Sanders so his stock in the league has definitely decreased. With Dalembert also being in his declining years, the Knicks might be able to sign him with the $2 million a year they still have available.
3. The Knicks have wanted him in the past
Back in the summer of the 2011 free agency, the Knicks were seriously considering Dalembert if they could not land Chandler to fill the void in the middle. They went with Chandler since he just won a championship and was considered one of the elite defensive stoppers in the league.
The Knicks still have lacked a backup player that has the same size as Chandler to guard the big centers in the league. Jared Jeffries was ehh, Marcus Camby was always injured and Kenyon Martin was more of a power forward. The Knicks now have a chance to sign Dalembert since his value has dropped significantly in the past two years and fill this role.
4. Dalembert has some background in NY
He played his senior year of high school at St. Patrick’s in Elizabeth, N.J., before heading to Seton Hall. Melo wanted to come to NY since he grew up in Brooklyn, Smith re-signed with the Knicks since he’s from the NY/NJ area, so maybe Dalembert will do the same.
Dalembert also loves to raise money for Haiti, and New York is a great place to accomplish this with its large Haitian Population.