Is This Kris Humphries/Gerald Wallace For Amar’e Stoudemire Deal Going To Save The Knicks’ Season?

  • Jake O'Donnell


The Knicks average the third fewest offensive rebounds at 9.7 per game through 10 games. And that isn’t because every shot is going in — it’s because Tyson Chandler is out with a small non-displaced fibula fracture, and their other bigs have playing time restrictions/severe limitations.

Bottom line: The Knicks need big bodies that can scrap for boards.

That’s what Kris Humphries and Gerald Wallace bring. They’re an immediate upgrade on the glass and an uncharacteristically logical solution to a pressing need. Without having to trade the sole defensive asset on the perimeter, Iman Shumpert, the deal actually makes a lot of sense. Come to think of it, the Knicks should make a habit of addressing their needs instead of signing players based on their street cred or draft position seven years ago. This move is something to get excited over.

The move addresses another obvious issue: Interior defense. As Jared Zwerling reports, the Knicks are the worst team in basketball at defending the pick-and-roll (at 1.324 points per play). Sure, that’s partly a function of this recent stretch of big man-centric teams they’ve played, sans Chandler, but defending the pick and roll is mostly about team defense. Switching, shifting, and absorbing fouls if needed. No matter what you think about Kris Humphries and Gerald Wallace at this point in their respective careers, you can’t argue they’re any worse at getting in the way of opposing offenses than the likes of Amar’e, K-Mart, and Cole Aldrich.

Humphries has made a career on absorbing fouls and boxing out.

If you’ve watched the Knicks at all this season, you know that’s something they don’t/can’t/won’t do. They also suck at setting screens (with the exception of Chandler), and a big body like Humphries can free up Carmelo and the like for catch-and-shoot opportunities.

What’s more, Humphries doesn’t require touches, while Amar’e does. Playing 10 minutes a game, he’d need to shoot almost every trip down the floor to find any sort of rhythm. Not needing to solve that playing time/touches puzzle is one less obstacle for a Knicks team that needs to focus on things like defense and not appeasement. It’s a load off of Mike Woodson’s shoulders and a lot less awkward tension in a locker room that clearly struggles to reconcile Amar’e’s place on the team.

Wallace, although a shell of the player he once was, is a good fill-in for the injured Metta World Peace. Not much else there, except the veteran presence he brings and that awesome didgeridoo voice. Oh, and he played in New York last season, so there’s no “explaining the subway” issues. He’s ready to go.

The financial portion of the deal leaves the Knicks with Wallace at $10 million per year through 2016 — when they hope to make a run at some big free agents like LeBron or Durant or Love. That’s the only downside to this deal. The Knicks would obviously prefer a clean slate and unlimited room to sign whoever they wanted that year. Silver lining: That’s better than Amar’e at $25 million in 2015. On the Celtics side of things, they still have an amnesty, so dispensing of S.T.A.T.’s ridiculous contract can be dealt with swiftly and painlessly, freeing up cap room to make a run at a star player in 2016 to couple with a lottery pick this season and next.

The Knicks simply get tougher, which what they need. Less whining, more hustle. A win/win. And in case you’re convinced there’s a better deal out there for New York, here’s an up-to-date list of NBA teams who still have the capacity to dump Amar’e’s contract via amnesty clause: