clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Add Alexis Ajinca's name to the list.

The list of free agents in whom the Knicks have expressed interest has grown rapidly, and it will eventually include most everybody available. So, as I've said before, there's no need to soil one's self over any "Knicks are interested in X" reports (feel free to soil yourself, but pick a better reason). It's still fun to see who they're calling, though, and the beat reporters have been sharp about keeping in touch with agents to give us a sense of that list. Anyway, here's this from Marc Berman:

The Knicks continue beating the bushes for a big man and have placed Toronto’s young 7-2 French center Alexis Ajinca among their targets.

Ajinca — who began last season with Dallas, even starting two games — is strictly a reserve and still needs to work on his body with his skinny build. But if Toronto passes, the Knicks could take a flyer on Ajinca with a one-year deal for a minimum-range salary.

It isn’t surprising Mike D’Antoni’s Knicks have interest in Ajinca because of his European offensive style, as he can shoot the 3-pointer. But he also can rebound and can be an athletic shot-blocker. He’s only 23 and the Knicks need to stockpile size.

Your first reaction, I bet, was either "who!?" or "him!?" or "that's a girl's name", all of which are fair. This would, indeed, qualify as beating-- really working over-- the bushes. Ajinca is quite tall and quite skinny, and I think fans in Toronto, Dallas, and Charlotte would agree that he's not particularly good at basketball. From what I've seen, Ajinca mostly lopes around heaving threes, (didn't he once torch the Knicks from downtown? Or was that everybody else ever?) and doesn't actually rebound or defend that competently, particularly for a man his size.

But he's tall and has at least one discernible skill (I can envision Coach D'Antoni putting him in to take corner threes and guard Rajon Rondo) and, most importantly, he probably won't demand that much money. If and when the likes of Kwame Brown, Aaron Gray, and company are scooped up by freer-spending teams, this may be the type of guy the Knicks are left to attract. (This is assuming that reports of their intentions to sign mostly minimum deals are accurate). And that's okay! Sometimes you need a guy to be tall, take a few fouls, and hang out with Ronny Turiaf.

So far, though, it's just a phone call.