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Could the New York Knicks Add Louis Amundson to Their Frontcourt?

February 8th, 2013 at 8:00 AM
By Matt Agne

This is the time of the season where contending teams hold off on signing street free agents in order to see who gets waived from other teams that might be able to supplement their rosters. The New York Knicks are no different. With Rasheed Wallace and Marcus Camby suffering from injuries the Knicks could look into strengthening their frontcourt. While most fans have been zeroing in on Kenyon Martin the team could look elsewhere. What about the Minnesota Timberwolves Louis Amundson?

'152060789_MIN_DAL_JAMES0704' photo (c) 2012, Danny Bollinger - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Louis Amundson is a 6'9", 225 pound power forward/center from Ventura, California. He went undrafted out of UNLV in 2006 and worked his way into the NBA by playing in the D-League for the Colorado 14ers. He was named the NBA D-League Rookie of the Year in 2007. That allowed him to play for the Utah Jazz in 2007. From 2007-08 he played for the Philadelphia 76ers, from 2008-10 he played for the Phoenix Suns, from 2010-11 he played for the Golden State Warriors, from 2011-12 he played for the Indiana Pacers and from 2012 on he's played for the Minnesota Timberwolves.

During the off-season the Knicks expressed interest in Amundson but he eventually signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves. However, the Timberwolves have recently signed Chris Johnson and Mickael Gelabale to 10-day contracts. If Minnesota decides to sign them for the rest of the season they will likely place Amundson on waivers. 

Amundson is a forward who is defensive minded and focuses on rebounding. He seemingly would fit in well and be the kind of player coach Mike Woodson would enjoy having around for depth. However, Jared Zwerling of ESPNNewYork.com reports that Woodson is in no hurry to make a roster move.

Still, the main personnel issue involving the Knicks is their frontcourt defensive depth without Marcus Camby and Rasheed Wallace; not to mention, Kurt Thomas is 40 years old. While Camby appears to be making progress, the overall concern is their age and durability behind Tyson Chandler, and Wallace remains a big question mark.

"Personally, I think Sheed is done for the year," one league source said. 

But according to the same source, the Knicks — specifically Mike Woodson — are not rushing to bring in a new face. 

"Woody doesn't want to add anyone," the source said. "He was buying more time for Sheed. The Knicks are letting him do it his way."

Another source said the Knicks will likely wait until after the All-Star break to make a decision on Wallace. But it doesn't mean they shouldn't monitor the Amundson situation.

'Kenyon Martin' photo (c) 2011, Keith Allison - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Most fans have grown impatient with the lack of frontcourt depth and want the Knicks to move on from Wallace and sign veteran free agent Kenyon Martin. Martin too was looked at in the off-season but he was asking for more money than the Knicks had available. Now that no other team has met his demands and the season has progressed Martin has stated his willingness to not only accept the veterans minimum but to prove his worth through a 10-day contract. Still the Knicks remain in a waiting pattern.

While this all appears to be caused by Woodson's loyalty to Wallace it is hard to question a coach who has done such a good job and gotten so much out of this roster. However, that won't stop the Knicks from keeping an eye on possible replacements for Wallace. It will simply buy him time.
 
'Sheed in the House' photo (c) 2007, Dave Hogg - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
 
Woodson and Wallace have claimed that if the playoffs were to start today he'd be able to play. That could be true or just them saying what they hope is true. What is known for sure is that the team is willing to give Wallace through the All-Star break to rehab from his plantar fasciitis in hopes he can return to the court. 
While he took more three point attempts than most fans would like to see from him Wallace's biggest impact was seen on the defensive end and through his veteran leadership. The defense has not been the same since his exit. 
 
Ultimately Wallace is going to eventually have to prove he can lace up his uptowns and play again this season or the Knicks will have to move on. It is possible that they could cut Kurt Thomas, Ronnie Brewer or James White in favor of another frontcourt body as well if the team decided that Wallace's presence was too valuable to lose.
 
Either way fans should keep an eye on the waiver wire for talent because the front office certainly is. There's the possibility of the addition of a big man, a perimeter defender or a backup point guard before the year is out. It all depends on the health of the roster and the availability of talent. Right now, all eyes are on the recovery of two veteran big men who could help shore up the Knicks interior defense.
 
Tags: Basketball, Chris Johnson, Kenyon Martin, Kurt Thomas, Louis Amundson, Marcus Camby, Mike Woodson, NBA, New York, New York Knicks, Rasheed Wallace

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