Following a very active first few weeks of free agency, the New York Knicks are almost finished piecing together what they hope will be a championship-calibre puzzle.
Having spent their mid-level exception and traded away the bulk of their sign-and-trade bait, the Knicks are now left with only the veteran's minimum to spend, as they miss out on the bi-annual exception due to cap restrictions.
With those minimum contracts, the Knicks will need to find a shooting guard capable of starting—but not necessarily playing hefty minutes—in Iman Shumpert's absence, and also a power forward to back up Amar'e Stoudemire.
After being amnestied by the Washington Wizards, Andray Blatche may be a player capable of filling the latter need. Since he's going to be paid his $7 million anyway, he may be willing to sign for a one-year minimum deal.
According to the Washington Post, Blatche is expected to clear waivers, making it a lot more realistic that he could end up in New York.
Blatche is without doubt a talented enough player to come off the bench effectively. The question with him has really been more about his attitude and effort.
For only the veteran's minimum, he should be worth the risk for the Knicks. If everything pans out, he could actually end up being a huge part of their bench unit.
With a head coach like Mike Woodson—who really did a great job of controlling J.R. Smith on court last season—Blatche's maturity should improve to the point where he can be an effective player in the NBA once again.
Not only that, but the veteran big men around him—including Tyson Chandler and Marcus Camby—are bound to teach him the importance of defense, focus and desire in his job inside the paint.
Considering Stoudemire's penchant for injury and the inevitability that he'll miss time next season, the Knicks need a player like Blanche who's young enough to start every now and then, and talented enough to be productive in doing so.
The Knicks don't have too many other options at the power forward position, and if they don't go for Blatche, they'll likely have to settle for Chris Copeland, who, to be fair, has looked very impressive so far in the Las Vegas Summer League.
If he can be convinced to sign for a minimum deal, Blatche could end up being a low-risk, high-reward signing for the Knicks, who'd be able to cut him at very little cost if he doesn't show up.
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