New Knicks president and GM Steve Mills identified backup center as his team’s most significant area of need, and it’s “something we clearly need to worry about,” he told reporters today, including Newsday’s Al Iannazzone (Twitter links). Mills isn’t sure if Amare Stoudemire will be ready for the start of the regular season, Iannazzone notes via Twitter, and Jeremy Tyler is out with a broken foot. That leaves Cole Aldrich as the only true center behind Tyson Chandler, and though Mills likes what he’s seen out of Aldrich so far, it appears he’d like to upgrade the position before opening night.
The Knicks have a few other internal candidates who could conceivably play out of position, like Kenyon Martin, Andrea Bargnani and Josh Powell. Still, the team appears unwilling to put a heavy load on Martin, and Bargnani and Powell are much more suited to power forward. The Knicks have a full complement of 20 players, so if they were to add someone to their preseason roster, they’d have to part with someone else.
Jason Collins would be the most high-profile signing the team could make, and the Knicks reportedly showed interest in him before deciding to go with Aldrich and Tyler instead. Both Aldrich and Tyler are on non-guaranteed deals, so New York could revisit their decisions to add them over Collins if they wish. The free agent market for experienced centers is otherwise thin, though Daniel Orton, whom the Thunder waived yesterday, is among those available. The Knicks could also attempt to swing a trade, though we haven’t heard anything indicating that they’re working toward that.