With this week’s signing of veteran point guard Beno Udrih, the New York Knicks have 14 players currently under contract, with one more roster spot to fill.
So who could GM Glen Grunwald choose to be that guy? The Knicks have been interested in summer league point guard Toure Murray, but they have three point guards now with Raymond Felton, Pablo Prigioni and Udrih. Plus, Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith have the ability to orchestrate some half-court sets.
While the team looks essentially set at point guard, it could definitely use another rebounder and defender behind Tyson Chandler.
The problem there though is that the market for serviceable big men is slim, with players like Cole Aldrich, Earl Barron, Jason Collins, Jared Jeffries and Jerome Jordan highlighting the options.
Aldrich is active around the basket, but is not athletic enough and has knee concerns. Barron has proven to be a good rebounder in two short stints with the Knicks, but he is a shoddy offensive player. Collins hasn’t averaged more than 12 minutes per game in three years and shot only 31 percent from the field last year. Jeffries has never been a consistent inside player, and Jordan doesn’t play with the toughness one would expect out of a 7-footer.
The Knicks did sign 6-foot-10 center Jeremy Tyler for potential minutes as a backup center based on a strong performance defensively and on the glass in the summer league. However, he is not experienced enough. The Knicks’ frontcourt is lacking in depth and people who are typically healthy, which could be a problem when going up against the Brooklyn Nets and the Indiana Pacers, who did a great job upgrading in that department this offseason.
The team has also expressed interest in a few smaller big men like Lou Amundson and Ivan Johnson. That said, Johnson is the only one who would help the Knicks with his youth, defense, toughness, rebounding and inside scoring. The others, like Amundson, have suffered in health and production in recent years.
As a result of the bleak market at the backup big man position, it appears that the Knicks will not rush to make any moves at this point to fill their final roster spot. That being said, the team has done a solid job building the roster over the offseason and could probably bring in their 15th man during training camp.