The New York Knicks still have a couple of roster sports to fill out and while they can only hand out minimum contracts at this point, they can still find guys out there who could contribute off the bench next season.
One of those guys could be unrestricted free agent big man Ivan Johnson.
A couple of weeks ago I reported the Knicks interest in Johnson and thought it would be a wise move to pursue him. Apparently the Knicks feel the same way.
Johnson was originally looking for a deal that would net him some team’s mini mid-level exception, but with those deals not really available at the moment, a player like Johnson could have to settle for a one-year deal at the minimum salary.
Zwerling’s source said, “I think it would be a great fit for Ivan to get big minutes [in New York] and further prove he can play in this league.”
The Knicks would likely be better off bringing in another true center rather than the 6’8″ Johnson, who is primarily a power forward. However when you consider the injury history of Amar’e Stoudemire, Kenyon Martin, Tyson Chandler and Andrea Bargnani, adding Johnson could be a good fit as there will likely be minutes off the bench for him.
Johnson played in 69 games last season for the Atlanta Hawks where he averaged 15 minutes with 6.6 points and 3.9 rebounds a game.
However when you look a little deeper at the numbers, he is a guy who can help the Knicks.
Last season the Knicks were a woeful rebounding team and they did very little to help their cause this season. Johnson can crash the glass as he finished in the Top 10 in the league last season in rebounds Per 40 minutes.
In addition, Johnson plays a physical game, and with that he brings a lot of energy and good defense, he’s a strong rebounder and he can finish with authority around the rim.
If the Knicks can land him for the minimum, Johnson would turn into a very valuable asset for the 2013-14 season.
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