The New York Knicks are in desperate need of a backup center. Behind Tyson Chandler you'll find a large group of power forwards but no true center. The problem is, the free agent market for centers is not very strong. However, there is one true center that towers above them all. The Knicks would be wise to sign free agent center Hamed Haddadi.
Hamed Haddadi is huge. He's 7'2", 265 pounds and well versed in NBA and international play. He's 28 years old and has been playing professionally since 1999. He went undrafted in the 2004 NBA Draft but has experience playing for the Memphis Grizzlies from 2008-13 and the Phoenix Suns in 2013.
He's paid his dues overseas and in the NBA D-League as well and has developed his low-post game. In fact, he was recently named the FIBA Asia Championship MVP for the third time (2007, 2009, 2013). Haddadi may finally be getting up to speed with the NBA style of play and be primed and ready to contribute if the New York Knicks bring him in as the primary backup center.
Haddadi is represented by agent Marc Cornstein. That's the same agent that also represents Knicks' free agent acquisitions Metta World Peace and Beno Udrih. This could be one of those situations where it helps both parties to work something out. The Knicks could land themselves a true backup center and at the same time they could help Cornstein find a place for his client as a thank you for helping them land World Peace and Udrih.
Haddadi had a partially-guaranteed deal with the Suns for next season but Phoenix opted to cut him loose for the cost of about $200,000 this summer. If they hadn't, they would have had to pay him $1,400,000 for the season.
At this point in free agency the Knicks only have the veteran's minimum to off free agents. Thankfully, that's the price range for Haddadi. It seems like this is a union meant to happen.
Clearly, the team has been looking around at every available big man on the market trying to find the right fit. They've been attached to Louis Amundson, Ivan Johnson, Earl Barron and others. However, nothing has been worked out between any of the parties.
The Knicks have been connected to Haddadi for several weeks. However, Frank Isola of the New York Daily News reported yesterday that the Knicks had a meeting with the Iranian center yesterday.
Iranian center Hamed Haddadi is meeting with Knicks officials today, the Daily News has learned.— Frank Isola (@FisolaNYDN) August 16, 2013
It could benefit everyone if the two sides could finally be coming together on an agreement. It would give Haddadi a chance to play on one more competitive teams in the east, in or of the biggest markets and on a roster with no other true reserve center.
For the Knicks, signing Haddadi would help to continue the relationship between them and Cornstein and at the same time give them a large backup behind Tyson Chandler. He could also give the team some insurance incase Chandler's health doesn't hold up.
While the Knicks have plenty of power forwards who could fill in time behind Chandler, if he were to go down with an injury they'd at least have one true center around if they signed Haddadi. At this point, it seems like the two sides need one another. Hopefully they could come together on an agreement.
Signing Haddadi would fill the Knicks 15th roster spot and allow the team to go into the season knowing exactly who they will be going to war with. That would allow the front office and the fan base to sit back and relax.
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