The New York Knicks have made a flurry of roster moves recently, including waiving forwards Isaiah Roby and Nathan Knight. New York signed forward/center Mamadi Diakite and guard Brandon Goodwin to Exhibit 10 contracts on Thursday, but the assumption is that they’ll both be waived and will play in Westchester.
With Roby and Knight gone, the Knicks are running low on forward insurance. For the past three years, it was Obi Toppin who was the backup power forward. This season, it’s expected to be Josh Hart. Tom Thibodeau runs a tight nine-man rotation, so it’s not like Roby or Knight would’ve played meaningful minutes anyway, but having an emergency plan is important.
Leon Rose and the front office know that, and more New York roster transactions will come before opening night. Maybe one of the players the Knicks will sign is Wenyen Gabriel, a six-foot-nine forward who spent the entire 2022-23 season with the Lakers.
The Celtics signed Gabriel earlier this month, but his time in Boston was cut short as he was waived on Friday.
Should the Knicks consider signing forward Wenyen Gabriel?
The 26-year-old averaged 5.5 points and 4.2 rebounds in 68 games for Los Angeles this past season. Gabriel represented South Sudan at the 2023 FIBA World Cup, averaging 9.2 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks per game en route to the country’s first-ever Olympic berth.
Rather than run Julius Randle and Josh Hart into the ground, the Knicks could take a flier on Gabriel with a non-guaranteed contract. If Randle and/or Hart are dealing with an injury, or if New York is going against a lowly opponent, having a player like Gabriel on the roster wouldn’t be a bad option.
Gabriel was a suitable backup during his season and a half with the Lakers, and he even got some run during LA’s push to the Western Conference Finals in the 2023 playoffs. His size, energy, and rim protection (which, to be fair, is nonexistent at times) could help him stay with a team like the Knicks for the full 2023-24 season. It’s worth taking a chance.