New York Knicks Sign NBA Champion Center Amid Injuries

New York Knicks, Mamadi Diakite

Getty Mamadi Diakite with the Cavaliers.

The New York Knicks have signed Mamadi Diakite to a 10-day contract, according to Fred Katz of The Athletic. Diakite, 27 years old, was a member of the Milwaukee Bucks championship team in 2021. The power forward and center won’t likely play much but will be used as insurance as the Knicks are still dealing with injuries.

Diakite played in three games for the San Antonio Spurs this season, playing just 5.3 minutes per game. He played in 22 games for the Cleveland Cavaliers last year, averaging 2.6 points and 1.4 rebounds, shooting 48% from the field.

With the injuries to Mitchell Robinson and Julius Randle, the Knicks are still in the market of finding someone who can help them in the short term. Diakite is the latest find.

What Diakite Will Bring to the Knicks

Due to Robinson being out, a big body is needed for the New York Knicks. Taj Gibson was the option in the early part of the season but after he did two 10-day contracts with the Knicks, they would’ve had to sign him to a standard contract.

While Diakite doesn’t have much NBA experience in terms of minutes played, he’s been in the league every season since 2020. At the very least, he can be someone the Knicks put in for a few minutes per night and give their forwards and centers a few minutes off.

Isaiah Hartenstein spoke about having OG Anunoby back and how it made his job easier. Just the fact that Anunoby returned makes life easier for the Knicks as he’s another body to throw out there. Despite the talent Anunoby is, having an extra player who can play 30-plus minutes might be of bigger use than anything else for this depleted Knicks team.

“It was big,” Hartenstein said.  “Just having him back, I think he even makes my job a lot easier on defense, so I can kind of help a little bit more, just knowing either he’s behind me or if he’s on the ball, I know I can veer [away] and defend different players, even 5s easily. So just having him back, I think it makes my life easier. And lets me kind of roam a little bit more.”

Diakite certainly won’t play the role that Anunoby does, but he gives the Knicks another player who has experience and can play a few minutes a night.

Knicks Injury Update

The latest New York Knicks injury updates have all been positive. Anunoby returned to the floor after dealing with an arm injury, a long-awaited return for the Knicks best defender.

Ian Begley of SNY reported what head coach Tom Thibodeau had to say about Randle returning.

“Julius Randle’s ‘conditioning is good,” Thibodeau said, per Begley. “He’s shooting, doing individual work, that’s all good. He can do 5-0; that sort of thing. Light contact with the pads.” Randle hasn’t been cleared for full contact yet. That’s the next step in his rehab from a shoulder dislocation.”

As for Robinson, who Diakite is filling in for, he’s running and jumping but isn’t doing any contact yet, according to Katz.

The Knicks are finally getting healthy after dealing with injuries throughout the past two months.

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