Stoudemire spent the last two weeks training with Hakeem Olajuwon and has developed new post moves, but Tyson Chandler ended up having to decline due to a busy summer.
“What Tyson said was that it was a logistical issue,” said ESPN New York’s Ian Begley. “He had been traveling since the season ended really because of Team USA and I guess he had a commitment in Tanzania with an international group that he had to honor and he felt that after that it was too much travel. He didn’t want to go to Houston and be away from his family again.”
“One thing to note also with Tyson is he suffered an injury before the Team USA training camp began,” Begley added. “He said he suffered a dislocation of his finger and I think we saw him re-aggravate that injury during a Team USA game in early August. He seemed to be fine from that and it didn’t seem to be anything that lingered, but that’s certainly something to keep an eye on when you talk about Tyson Chandler.”
Chandler played through the injury during the Olympics, so it shouldn’t be a concern for the season opener against the Brooklyn Nets. If it becomes an issue however, Camby, whom the Knicks acquired in a sign-and-trade deal with the Houston Rockets, will be the player, the Knicks rely on at center.
“I think with Marcus Camby, they saw an opportunity to get a guy who could spell Tyson Chandler at the five,” Begley said. “Last year, they didn’t have a true backup center, so if it works out with Camby, he’ll play an important role off of the bench.”
The Knicks also acquired Thomas in the sign-and-trade deal for Raymond Felton with the Portland Trailblazers, but Thomas will be turning 40 years old as of October 4 and it’s anyone’s guess on how much he’ll be able to contribute. Thomas averaged three points and 3.5 rebounds in just 15.2 minutes per game off of the bench last season.
“I don’t think that Kurt will play a large role,” Begley said. “As the Knicks go ahead and try to sign a legit backup four, which they still have room for, I don’t think you’ll see Kurt that much on the floor. They haven’t signed that backup four yet so maybe Kurt can prove himself in training camp and show the coaches that he has enough left in the tank to fill that role and in that case you might see him on a regular basis, but regardless of what he brings to the floor, Kurt Thomas is another veteran and he is another guy who can keep things in line in the locker room.”
With an injury-prone Stoudemire, an injured Tyson Chandler and two players who are nearing the end of their career, the Knicks could certainly look to add another front court player to provide depth.
“I think they’ve talked with representatives from Lou Amundson, the big from Indiana and I don’t know if those talks are still ongoing, but they were as of two weeks ago and I think they’re on a wait and see period,” Begley said. “I think that if I was Glen Grunwald that I’d go after Amundson because he’s a big who bangs down low and is not scared of contact and likes playing around the rim and he could potentially come at a cheap price with the idea that if he plays well with New York this year, it will spring board into a bigger contract next season.”
If the Knicks are unable to sign Amundson or are no longer interested, the top remaining free agent power forwards are Andray Blatche, Yi Jianlian, Kenyon Martin and Troy Murphy.