Upon landing Phil Jackson in the front office and re-signing star Carmelo Anthony in the offseason, the New York Knicks hoped to improve on their 37-45 mark from last season to get back to the NBA playoffs.
At this point, 37 wins would be a significant achievement.
Thus far, the Knicks have floundered their way to a 5-32 record. Only the 5-28 Philadelphia 76ers have been worse — and many feel that they’re trying to lose. On purpose.
There are even reports that Anthony could be done for the season due to a knee injury. Going nowhere fast, it shouldn’t come as much surprise that New York is exploring their options. One move already made is the waiving of center Samuel Dalembert.
Dalembert began the season as the team’s starter at center, but had fallen out of favor and had been passed up by Cole Aldrich on the depth chart.
The 33-year old center is clearly on the downside of his career and was having a mostly forgettable year. Dalembert, in fact, was averaging career-lows in points (4.0) and rebounds (5.3) per game since his rookie season in Philadelphia. He is still a minor threat to block shots in the paint, but that can’t make up for his offensive efficiency issues, making a career-low 43.8 percent of his shots from the field. Dalembert has gone from being a double-double threat earlier in his career to a liability in the middle.
The Knicks initially wanted to move Dalembert via a trade, but likely were not able to find a suitable partner. The motivation for releasing him? Money, of course.
The team had until Wednesday to make a deal or else be locked into his salary for the season. New York saved $2 million of his $3.8 million salary by releasing him this week. The money is nice, but the Knicks, of course, would have liked to get a player in return for Dalembert. The only problem was that teams weren’t desperate enough to give up much in a trade when they could conceivably sign him if he is waived.
In addition, New York wasn’t even been able to showcase Dalembert recently to potential suitors. The center has been out since December 27th with an ankle injury, so teams haven’t even been able to see him recently.
Now a free agent, could Dalembert resurface in the NBA soon? One intriguing team to keep an eye on would be the Cleveland Cavaliers. As I wrote about recently, the team has been actively seeking a big man since losing Anderson Varejao for the season. Dalembert is a center that can provide immediate help. He isn’t a star or even an ideal option, but then again, Cleveland doesn’t need him to do much with the trio of Lebron James, Kevin Love, and Kyrie Irving.
Either way, Dalembert is now looking for a new home.
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