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New York Knicks Move Front and Center Towards Training Camp, Invite Cole Aldrich

September 25th, 2013 at 8:00 AM
By Matt Agne

All off-season the New York Knicks have looked for ways to make their frontcourt stronger. However, Glen Grunwald and the front office has struggled in attempts to find a true center to backup Tyson Chandler. Their two-day mini camp led to two invites for training camp being given to Josh Powell and Ike Diogu. However, they're both predominantly power forwards. Now that mini camp has rendered a third training camp invite as the Knicks have decided to give former lottery pick Cole Aldrich a chance to make the final roster.

'Sketchy Aldrich (especially 'ch')' photo (c) 2008, Marcin Wichary - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

NBA teams are allowed a maximum of 20 participants in training camp. After the news of Josh Powell and Ike Diogu receiving invites the Knicks roster was up to 18. Now with the decision to give Cole Aldrich an opportunity the roster has grown to 19.

Aldrich took part in the Knicks' two-day mini camp. Monday, Jared Zwerling of Bleacher Report reported Aldrich would be given a second look this week. Tuesday, news broke that Aldrich had been signed to a deal to participate in training camp with hopes of becoming Tyson Chandler's primary backup.

Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork reports Aldrich will compete for a roster spot in training camp in hopes of bolstering the frontcourt.

The Knicks hope Aldrich can fill the void at backup center that was left when they traded Marcus Camby in the Andrea Bargnani deal. The team inked Aldrich on Tuesday after having him in for workouts on multiple days in recent weeks. According to a source, Aldrich's deal is non-guaranteed.

Aldrich was the 11th selection of the 2010 NBA Draft by the New Orleans Hornets. You'd think a guy with his size, skill set and potential would have thrived on a struggling team like the Hornets but unfortunately for him his path has been a bumpy one.

Instead, he was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder where he lost playing time to Nick Collison. After short stint with the Houston Rockets and Sacramento Kings he's never quite carved out a spot in the NBA.

'P1000314' photo (c) 2013, Matthew Addie - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ In fact, while Aldrich has only seen action 89 games total during his three seasons in the league the man selected one spot ahead of him — Paul George — is on the verge of signing a $90 million contract extension with the Indiana Pacers.

Clearly it remains to be seen if he, like other big men, simply needed more time to develop or if he's truly a bust. At 6'11", 240 pounds he certainly has the size to play center in the NBA. Additionally, his rebounding and shot blocking skills make him intriguing despite his offensive futility. However, he'll have to show he can live up to that potential in training camp if he hopes to continue his employment with the Knicks this season.

Aldrich has been on the Knicks' radar all off-season. If he makes the roster he could wind up filling a major role for the Knicks this season because of their lack of center depth. Now it's up to him to prove he's worth keeping around past training camp.

While Aldrich is a good signing for the Knicks, as Knicks 101 reported yesterday, there are plenty of others still on the free agent market who could help the team. With one remaining spot available for training camp don't be surprised to see someone brought in.

Competition is a good thing and if you're going to bring 19 players to training camp you'd might as well bring 20. It will be interesting to see who that might be but for now we know Aldrich will be one of the players attempting to impress the coaching staff and earn an orange and blue jersey come training camp. Well done Mr. Grunwald, well done.

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Tags: Basketball, Cole Aldrich, Glen Grunwald, Ike Diogu, Indiana Pacers, Josh Powell, NBA, New York, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Paul George, Tyson Chandler

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