NBA Rumors: Alex Len should be on the radar of the Knicks

The New York Knicks are trying their best to put a team on the floor which will contend next season. The issue Scott Perry is facing is that his hands are tied when it comes to certain situations. For one, no one knows what’s going on regarding Carmelo Anthony. But one thing is certain: the Knicks must improve defensively.

This is where a player like Alex Len comes into play.

As it stands now, the Knicks will have what appears to be a serviceable three-headed attack in Joakim Noah, Guillermo “Willy” Hernangomez and Kyle O’Quinn. The issue with the latter two players, is that neither is particularly strong on either end of the court. Noah had his moments in 2016, despite averaging only five points and nine rebounds. Hernangomez, in limited action, managed to put up eight points and seven rebounds while O’Quinn averaged similar numbers with six points and six rebounds.

Combined, that’s not anything to write home about, but the Knicks are not just looking for fill-ins. They need a player who will be able to play at least 30 minutes and provide a defensive presence that will take pressure off of Kristaps Porzingis in the post.

Alex Len is that guy.

With the possibility of having Anthony, Porzingis and Tim Hardaway Jr. on the wings, the Knicks’ offense should be solid. It should be easy for Len to duplicate his 2016 averages of eight points and six rebounds, especially given the Knicks’ lack of an interior presence. There may be bigger names in the league’s talent-pool, but Len is by far the best of the litter when it comes to defense; though not much of a scorer, he doesn’t need to be. What he will provide the Knicks if given those 36 minutes is a stat line of 14 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks per. How can the Knicks turn away from that?

What’s best about targeting Len now is his price. The Phoenix Suns were worried he may draw offers in the $15 million-per-year range but so far those numbers or any others have been M.I.A. (Missing In Action). The Knicks can low-ball Len to the tune of $5-6 million per year. He is a restricted free agent, meaning the Suns can match any offer he gets. However, with the Suns looking to get more athletic, they may choose to just let Len walk, making him that much more easy to acquire.

The Knicks have an opportunity here to start building towards the future, and a move that has the organization acquire Len is a step in the right direction.

 

Mark Wilson

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