via Marc Berman:
“Their one-year-contract edict would still give the Knicks a shot at lower-tier, cheaper centers.
Kwame Brown is on their radar after having a serviceable season with Charlotte (7.9 points, 6.8 rebounds, 51.7 percent shooting). Michael Jordan’s former No. 1 draft bust is 6-11, 270 pounds and though he has hands of stone, he can defend, rebound and block shots — the only Knicks requirements.
There are other free-agent centers who could be had for one-year deals that will pique the Knicks’ interest — Tony Battie, ex-Knick veteran Kurt Thomas, who filled in solidly in spots with the Bulls, Joel Pryzbilla, Aaron Gray and ancient Theo Ratliff.”
First of all, if you do not know this already, I am a very, very big Kurt Thomas fan. If he has another year left in the tank and he was brought back to the Garden, I would be ecstatic. Players with his toughness on the block are rare nowadays. He is pure old school – and is the oldest player in the league.
If what Berman has written is true and the team avoids long-term contracts with free agents, then you can essentially forget about Tyson Chandler, Samuel Dalembert, Marc Gasol and DeAndre Jordan. In fairness, we probably could have forgetten about all of those guys except for Dalembert because the rest figure to stick with their current team.
Looking over the list of other free agent centers that could be available, a couple of names stand out for me. Berman highlights Kwame Brown, and I happen to agree with his assessment on the former #1 overall pick. Brown is not an exceptional player in the least, but he did have an impressive season last year. First and foremost, he has the size that the Knicks are looking for in their starting center. After that, he can rebound and score a little bit in the post. While his box scores against the Knicks might not show it, he was a force going up against the small Knicks frontline last season. If he can be had on the cheap, I can see him playing alongside Amare Stoudemire.
Other names that intrigue me are Aaron Gray, who was impressive for the Hornets last season, Nazr Mohammed, a former Knick and veteran center, Troy Murphy, a shooter and rebounder that looked lost last season, Jeff Foster and Solomon Jones from the Pacers, and to a lesser extent, Kyrylo Fesenko who would be a young, but a project of big man that had a chance to play quality minutes in the playoffs two seasons ago. Of course, the only players I view as potential starters for next season would be Kwame Brown, Troy Murphy is he regains his form, Mohammed and possibly Aaron Gray. Although he is more of a forward than a center, Josh McRoberts could also be a good, cheap option to help bolster the front line on a one year pact. He does not have the size to be an ideal center, but he is a good rebounder, has a soft touch around the basket and is a great athlete.
Of course, who knows when free agency is going to start with the lockout almost certain to happen starting the 1st of July.