New York Knicks Projected To Lose Key Role Player In Offseason

Precious Achiuwa, Knicks, NBA Rumors
NBA Analysis Network

The New York Knicks’ depth was tested often during the 2023-24 NBA regular season. Several key players were sidelined for large chunks of the season because of injury, leading to players having to step up into larger-than-anticipated roles.

One of the players who were thrust into a huge role was versatile big man, Precious Achiuwa. Originally viewed as a throw-in in the blockbuster deal between the Knicks and Toronto Raptors, he proved to be much more than that.

Without Achiuwa, it is fair to wonder if the Knicks would be where they are right now. When Julius Randle and OG Anunoby went down, joining Mitchell Robinson on the sideline, Achiuwa’s number was called early and often.

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Precious Achiuwa, 2024 NBA Offseason, New York Knicks Updates

For a stretch from late January through the NBA All-Star Break, head coach Tom Thibodeau could not take Achiuwa off the court. The injuries necessitated part of that, but his level of play also warranted an increase in time on the court.

He played 40+ minutes in seven out of eight games, reaching at least 31 minutes in 14 straight games. Achiuwa was in the starting lineup for 18 straight games, which was the length of time Anunoby was sidelined with his elbow injury the first time.

While he has seen his role shrink with Anunoby and Robinson returning to the lineup, Achiuwa provides the team with elite end-of-the-bench depth. However, it is fair to wonder if that luxury will continue in the 2024-25 NBA season.

In the opinion of Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report, it won’t. Buckley has predicted that Achiuwa, who is heading into restricted free agency during the 2024 NBA Offseason, will sign an offer sheet with the Utah Jazz which New York won’t match.

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Precious Achiuwa, 2024 NBA Offseason, New York Knicks Updates

“Between his age, established ability and growth potential, the Knicks will have reasons to want him back. Then again, others will have those same incentives to pursue him, and they could really test New York’s resolve by putting a healthy offer sheet in front of him. It’s possible the Knicks wind up viewing him as the most cost-efficient option among their interior free agents, but if inks an early offer, New York might have to let him walk in order to keep the financial books as clean as possible for their other, higher-priority free agents,” Buckley wrote.

The higher-priority free agents Buckley is referencing are Anunoby and Isaiah Hartenstein. Both players are set to hit free agency and are in line for massive contracts. The Knicks’ front office has done an excellent job of keeping their books clean, but retaining everyone is going to be a challenge.

Achiuwa has performed at a high enough level to be in an NBA team’s rotation next season and beyond. With Anunoby, a presumed healthy Randle and possibly Hartenstein returning with Robinson, Achiuwa could be the odd man out in the frontcourt.

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