With 14 players already inked to guaranteed contracts for the upcoming 2013-14 campaign, the New York Knicks are down to their final roster spot this offseason.
There are a number of potential candidates to fill the role of 15th man, which has somewhat surprisingly become an important gig in the Big Apple.
Due to ailments and other issues—especially in the injury-prone frontcourt—a number of deep bench reserves have seen significant minutes for the Knickerbockers.
Let’s take a look at a few of the names floating around as potential offseason signings that the New York brass is exploring.
Centers Getting Plenty of Looks
Whenever a team is relying on Andrea Bargnani, Kenyon Martin, Amar’e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler as the primary options along the front line, it had best make sure there are a handful of insurance policies in place.
ESPN New York’s Jared Zwerling is reporting that the Knicks are doing exactly that and currently have a number of journeyman centers on their short list.
Cole Aldrich, Earl Barron, Jason Collins, Hamed Hadaddi, Jared Jeffries, Jerome Jordan and Shavlik Randolph were all explicitly named as potential options that are still on the open market with NBA experience.
Ovidijus Galdikas, a 7’2” Lithuanian standout, worked out for the Knicks and is also garnering some consideration.
Henry Sims, the Erie BayHawks star that the Knicks flirted with calling up at times last season, is apparently not garnering consideration after the team locked Jeremy Tyler—another D-League standout—into a contract.
If the Knicks are truly looking for size, they would likely be best off signing an experienced 7-footer that can still play defense at an NBA level. Some of the younger talents are intriguing, but developing bigs is not something that the Knicks can afford to do while also keeping the window for a championship open.
Power Forwards Also an Option
The Knicks aren’t completely focused on acquiring a prototypical center, as Zwerling notes that Lou Amundson, Drew Gooden, Ivan Johnson and Tyrus Thomas are also all on the radar.
These players may give up a few inches and fit more naturally at the power-forward spot, but could play some center in emergency situations.
Remember, Chris Copeland—now with the Indiana Pacers—lined up at center last season due to a rash of injuries in the frontcourt. Copeland is a 6’8” swingman that holds a career average of 2.1 rebounds.
It’s clear that any of the above listed talents would perform much better as a traditional big man than Copeland and would give the Knicks a big boost coming off the bench in certain matchups.
Toure Murry Still on Radar
After a solid summer league showing with the club, Toure Murry received a full-fledged training-camp invite from the Knicks.
Zwerling noted a few weeks ago that the young point guard is still weighing his options, which likely means that he has the chance to sign overseas or try to catch on with another organization during camp.
Murry participated in five games in the Las Vegas Summer League with the Knicks, averaging 7.6 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.6 assists per contest and showing solid chemistry with the other players on the roster.
He’s been a D-League standout with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers and proven himself against top-flight opponents by averaging 8.3 points, 2.8 assists and 2.5 rebounds in 46 appearances.
Unfortunately, with the signing of Beno Udrih and extension of Pablo Prigioni, it doesn’t seem like New York has room for another guard in the crowded backcourt.
It would be downright surprising if the Knicks don’t give Murry consideration, but it would be even more shocking if they actually signed him, barring an extremely impressive showing at camp.