It turns out that the New York Knicks may not be looking internally to try to fill the hole that Obi Toppin left behind after all. New York lacks size with how its roster currently stands, but that could change.
According to a source that spoke with New York Daily News’ Stefan Bondy (subscription required), the Knicks are “monitoring the free-agent market for a veteran big.” Bondy included that players such as Gorgui Dieng and Derrick Jones Jr. are still available, but didn’t write that New York is specifically looking at those two players.
HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto reported last week that the Knicks were planning to roll with Isaiah Roby as the backup four. New York signed Roby on the last day of the 2022-23 season after he was waived by the Spurs in early March. He has a non-guaranteed contract for 2023-24 and has been playing for the Knicks’ Summer League squad.
If New York doesn’t sign a veteran big and Roby’s stint with the Knicks doesn’t work out as hoped, Josh Hart and RJ Barrett could back up Julius Randle. New York needs size, though.
New York Knicks reportedly looking for veteran big on free-agent market
After the Knicks traded Obi Toppin, they filled the open rotation spot by signing Donte DiVincenzo. It’s been speculated that New York isn’t done making moves this summer given the surplus of guards that are on the roster. The Knicks are still working on trading Evan Fournier, and maybe that’ll happen before the front office signs a veteran big.
Gorgui Dieng, one of the players that Stefan Bondy mentioned, played 31 games for the Spurs last season before being waived in January. The six-foot-10 veteran has averaged 7.3 points and 5.6 rebounds since being drafted by the Timberwolves in 2013.
As for Derrick Jones Jr., he played in 64 games for the Bulls in 2022-23 and averaged 5.0 points and 2.4 rebounds. The six-foot-six forward had his best season in 2019-20 when he averaged a career-high 8.5 points and 3.9 rebounds in 59 games (16 starts).
If New York does sign another free agent this summer, it isn’t going to be a player that moves the needle much. The free agency frenzy has ended and the players that are still on the market are more of a form of insurance for interested teams.