Knicks News: New York to Release Kurt Thomas, Sign James Singleton

Ciaran GowanContributor IIIApril 11, 2013

April 21, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Washington Wizards power forward James Singleton (3) and Miami Heat point guard Norris Cole (30) at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The frontcourt injuries have finally become too much for the New York Knicks.

According to Frank Isola of the New York Daily News, the Knicks have cut power forward Kurt Thomas, creating a roster spot for free agent James Singleton.

Thomas is scheduled to have surgery on his right foot next week, and with uncertainty surrounding his return timetable, it appears the Knicks have decided his roster spot would be better spent on someone who can help out right now.

With a total of five more players out as we head into the playoffs, the Knicks are in need of a healthy rotation player, and Singleton can be just that.

The 6'8" small forward is known for his tough defense, making him a perfect fit for Mike Woodson's system.

He's not a great outside shooter like the majority of the Knicks' wing players, but ever since cutting Ronnie Brewer, the team has missed having someone other than Iman Shumpert who can play tenacious D on the perimeter.

Singleton is better offensively than Brewer, and this will help him get minutes down the stretch if he can prove he's in game shape.

The intriguing thing about Singleton is that he was very productive in his final season with the Washington Wizards in 2011-12. He put up eight points and seven rebounds a night, and did so on 55 percent shooting.

That was good for a 19.6 PER, but he has been playing ball in China ever since then. If he can repeat his form from 2011-12, however, Singleton may surprise people and make a big impact coming off the bench.

At 31, Singleton is going to be one of the youngest frontcourt players on the roster, which speaks to the overall age of the unit.

Despite his lack of height, Singleton is capable of playing at power forward, which is a serious need considering the state of the frontcourt.

With that said, it would have made a lot more sense for the Knicks to pick someone up capable of playing at the 5. As it stands, the Knicks will be going into the playoffs with Kenyon Martin as the full-time backup center, which is not an ideal situation.

The confusing thing is that the Knicks have a D-League affiliate they can turn to for a center. Henry Sims, who played with the team in camp, is right there for the taking, and would provide the young body they need.

He's not the most skilled player around, but he's tall and healthy, which is more than you can say for Marcus Camby and Rasheed Wallace.

More to the point, if the Knicks were looking to sign a wing player, it would have made more sense to cut James White. Kurt Thomas may be injured, but if he can get healthy at some point in the playoffs, he would be much more useful than White.

It's hard to picture White getting any more burn with Singleton now on the roster and Chris Copeland giving the team quality minutes.

Ultimately, Singleton is a player who adds depth and improves the defense, but the decision is still a confusing one. The Knicks still need more size inside and would have been better off cutting a lesser player.