The New York Knicks are the No. 2 team in the Eastern Conference but there is still plenty of room for improvement via a deal at the trade deadline. New York ranks 23rd in rebounding despite having solid interior players in Tyson Chandler and Amar'e Stoudemire in the lineup, but those two cannot be the sole low post occupiers down the stretch.
The Knicks' struggles in the paint can be attributed to older interior guys like Rasheed Wallace and Marcus Camby being injured. Camby has missed the last month with a sprained foot, and Wallace has not played since December 13 due to a foot injury of his own.
Needless to say, the Knicks can't afford to bank on these two aging veterans staying healthy if they are going to make a statement in the playoffs, or even the rest of the season. A younger, more reliable low post presence is needed, and GM Glen Grunwald may need to check the trade market to see if anyone is available.
Fortunately, he may be in luck.
Wolves waive Amundson. Re-sign Gelabale and Johnson for rest of season— TwolvesNow (@Twolvesnow) February 8, 2013
According to Darren Wolfson of 1500ESPN.com, both the Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers have shown interest in Amundson. Both teams need help in the paint, and the fact that Amundson is now a free agent and will not cost any players or draft picks makes him an even more attractive target.
Amundson has posted 10.6 points, 10.1 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per 36 minutes for his career, so it's easy to see why teams want him so badly.
However, to say that Amundson is a lock to be headed to the Knicks is far from the truth. According to Jared Zwerling of ESPN New York, head coach Mike Woodson is content to play the waiting game with Wallace's foot and the Knicks aren't rushing to bring in anyone new.
I can understand where Woodson is coming from. The Knicks are playing better basketball this season than anyone could have anticipated and there is no point in trying to fix something that's not broken.
Just the same, the Knicks would be wise to at least speak to Amundson and his agent. Their interior defense could use some depth, and Amundson's rebound-first mentality could do wonders in the Big Apple. His presence would decrease the countless number of times that the Knicks have failed to defend the pick-and-roll, and that alone can make a difference in both the regular season and playoffs.
That all being said, the New York Knicks owe it to themselves to either sign Amundson or pursue a trade for a low-cost defensive player that can be completed before the deadline.
The fact is that the key to the Knicks' success this year is defense, and playing the waiting game with a couple of aging and injury-prone veterans is not the right avenue to pursue. Either a trade needs to happen or Grunwald needs to check the waiver wire, lest the team want to end up disappointed once its season ends.