Knicks' reported free agency interest wouldn't address team's biggest need

The Knicks still need another backup center.
New York Knicks, Leon Rose
New York Knicks, Leon Rose / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages

New York Knicks fans are impatiently waiting for the front office to sign another center after Isaiah Hartenstein left for the Thunder in free agency. Mitchell Robinson and Jericho Sims are the team's top two options. Robinson was the starter before he got hurt last December, while Sims has struggled in backup minutes.

SNY's Ian Begley reported that the Knicks have contacted the Jazz about Walker Kessler but that Utah is looking for a first-round pick in return. Typical Danny Ainge. Maybe a deal will still get done, but as fans know, it's not easy doing business with Utah.

The top free-agent big men are off the board, so the pickings are slim for New York. According to HoopsHype's Michael Scotto, the Knicks have expressed interest in Davis Bertans, who the Hornets recently waived.

Knicks reportedly interested in free-agent forward Davis Bertans

The 31-year-old forward spent the 2023-24 season in Oklahoma City (15 games) and Charlotte (28 games). Bertans averaged 8.8 points and 1.8 rebounds per game with the Hornets, shooting 39.4% from the field and 37.5% from three on 6.3 attempts per contest.

Bertans wouldn't (or at least shouldn't) play minutes at the five, but his shooting at the four would help to space the floor. He's a career 39.6% shooter from deep, a great mark for a power forward. He isn't a good defender, though.

He wouldn't be expected to step in and make an immediate impact, but he'd be added frontcourt depth. Injuries depleted the Knicks' depth this past season, and Bertans would be insurance.

New York has the taxpayer mid-level exception it could offer Bertans, worth about $5.2 million. The front office could use all or a portion of that to sign the veteran. The Knicks could then flip that salary before the deadline. Bertans' last contract was a five-year, $80 million deal with the Wizards. He won't come close to making that kind of money again in the NBA.

While Bertans wouldn't fill New York's need for another backup center, he'd be a source of shooting off the bench. He's a name to monitor as the offseason continues.

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