The New York Knicks are filling out their roster quite well this offseason with the signings of Jalen Brunson and Isaiah Hartenstein.
Those two players fill a void that was gaping for the Knicks just a season ago. If Mitchell Robinson remains healthy, Hartenstein could very well be in the running for Sixth Man of the Year in the event his production from last season with the Clippers continues.
However, the Knicks did lose veteran big man Taj Gibson, a player who was a favorite of head coach Tom Thibodeau. The Knicks did want to keep the vet, but he decided to sign with the Washington Wizards.
Instead of going into the season with a relatively young core at center, the Knicks could pursue eight-time All-Star Dwight Howard, and that’s something Sports Illustrated’s Ben Stinar suggests they do.
Howard Could be a Good Fit
The veteran center won an NBA championship with the Lakers, and he’s won the Defensive Player of the Year award several times, so he certainly fits the bill of somebody who would flourish under Thibodeau.
However, Howard is 36 years old and far from the player that brought home all of that hardware, but he can still be effective in spurts. Signing with the Knicks would stick him third in the depth chart at center, and that’s somewhere he might fit best at during this stage of his career.
Then again, everybody knows Thibodeau likes his veterans, perhaps to a fault, so Howard could find himself getting more minutes in New York than he would elsewhere.
“The Knicks are coached by Tom Thibodeau, who is known to like veterans,” Stinar writes. “Howard would be a good addition to the team as a defender (Thibodeau is also known to focus on defense), and rebounder. He is an eight-time NBA All-Star and NBA Champion, who could help out a core that is relatively young. In addition, the team lost Taj Gibson this offseason to the Washington Wizards, who was a veteran forward. Howard would actually be an upgrade over Gibson as a veteran-player.”
Howard Isn’t Done
It’s a bit surprising to see Howard unsigned so far considering DeAndre Jordan was able to sign a deal within minutes of free agency opening.
Stinar doesn’t think the Knicks will be the only good signing for Howard. He lists the in-town rivals of the Lakers, the Clippers, as another possible landing spot. This does make a bit of sense considering the Knicks were able to steal away Hartenstein in free agency, so the Clippers are in need of another center.
“They just signed five-time NBA All-Star John Wall this offseason, so they are taking a chance on him to help out [Kawhi Leonard and Paul George],” he wrote. “While Wall is a lot better than Howard at this stage in his career, the 36-year-old can still be a very useful rebounder and shot blocker off the bench. There is no question that he would be a great role player for them in 10-15 minutes of action per game.