Center Trade Targets Emerging for New York Knicks

Alperen Sengun, Jalen Duren, New York Knicks, NBA Rumors
Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks are one team that has been heavily involved in NBA rumors over the last few weeks. They made a huge splash ahead of the 2024 NBA Draft, acquiring Mikal Bridges from the Brooklyn Nets.

Bridges is a big upgrade for the team, giving them an elite two-way wing combo with OG Anunoby, who re-signed on a five-year, $212.5 million deal. But, work is far from done for Leon Rose and the front office.

Extension talks with Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle are going to dominate the headlines soon. Both players are eligible for extensions and depending on how those talks progress could determine the team’s next move.

As currently situated, the New York Knicks need the center spot. The departure of Isaiah Hartenstein, who signed a three-year, $87 million deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder, hurts.

The New York Knicks were limited in what they could offer Hartenstein, as their max offer was a four-year, $72.5 million deal. With him gone, Mitchell Robinson is the only established big man on the roster.

Jericho Sims and rookie second-round pick Ariel Hokporti make up the depth chart behind Robinson. Restricted free agent Precious Achiuwa remains an option to be re-signed.

Based on recent NBA rumors, the team has much bigger plans. According to Marc Berman, formerly of the New York Post, the New York Knicks have two more trade targets on their radar; Alperen Sengun of the Houston Rockets and Jalen Duren of the Detroit Pistons.

Sengun and Duren are two of the more talented young centers in the NBA. The Rockets youngster has a skill set similar to Nikola Jokic in the sense he can be an offensive hub as a distributor and scorer.

Alas, Sengun doesn’t fit the mold of player Tom Thibodeau normally deploys at the center. Duren would be a closer fit, a monster on the glass with the size and length to be an eraser at the rim.

Most importantly, both players are on their rookie contracts. That is important given the new CBA rules with first and second aprons, as the New York Knicks need to find affordable talent if possible.

Previously, the Knicks have been connected to Walker Kessler of the Utah Jazz and Nick Richards of the Charlotte Hornets. Both are on affordable contracts and have skill sets that Thibodeau likes in his center.

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