Knicks' most glaring need after the first wave of free agency

Leon might not be done.
New York Knicks, Mitchell Robinson
New York Knicks, Mitchell Robinson / David Berding/GettyImages

The New York Knicks made their most significant free agency splash before June 30 when they signed OG Anunoby to a five-year deal. As much as the front office hoped Isaiah Hartenstein would return to New York, he couldn't turn down the Thunder's three-year, $87 million offer.

Since losing Hartenstein, the Knicks haven't signed or traded for another big man. Mitchell Robinson is back to being the starting center, a role he's very familiar with. New York picked up Jericho Sims' team option for 2024-25, so he's Robinson's backup.

It wouldn't be the end of the world if the Knicks trotted out Robinson and Sims as their primary centers, but things could turn south if Robinson gets injured. Sims hasn't looked ready to be a starting center, much less a backup center. Once Precious Achiuwa arrived in New York, he played center over Sims.

The best backup centers have been snatched off the free-agency market, but the Knicks could be working on a trade.

Knicks still need to boost their depth at center

Last Tuesday, HoopsHype's Michael Scotto reported that the Knicks expressed interest in trading for Utah's Walker Kessler and Charlotte's Nick Richards. Both would be low-cost options that'd upgrade the roster.

Scotto reported that rival executives believe that the Jazz could be open to listening to offers for Kessler. Utah picked up his $2.9 million option for next season and he has a $4.9 million team option for 2025-26. Trading for him would be inexpensive for the Knicks, but it could mean sending Deuce McBride out. Is that a move New York is willing to make?

The front office needs to do something about its frontcourt depth, even if that's bringing Achiuwa back. The Knicks didn't extend him a qualifying offer before free agency. He's still on the market. SNY's Ian Begley reported that there's mutual interest between Achiuwa and New York, but that other teams have expressed interest, too.

Considering over a week has passed since Hartenstein officially left the Knicks, it seems as if Leon Roes and Co. have something else cooking. No one saw the Mikal Bridges trade coming. Maybe the same will be said for the front office's next "big" move.

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