The New York Knicks have reportedly agreed to sign free agent center Kevin Seraphin to a one-year, $2.8 million contract.
Sheridan Hoops Michael Scotto reported on Tuesday morning that the 6-foot-10 center will join the mix of “big men” in the Knicks’ frontcourt.
Seraphin, 25, is expected to battle Kyle O’Quinn for minutes as Robin Lopez’s backup, according to Pro Basketball Talk. He averaged 6.6 points and 3.6 boards in 15.6 minutes per game while appearing 79 games last year with the Wizards. Seraphin spent his entire five-year career in Washington.
It was a surprise that Seraphin was on the free agent market as long he was. He had attracted interest from several teams, and he was expected to sign with a new team much sooner. A big reason Seraphin lasted on the open market as long as he did was because he sought an opportunity to be a starter, but nothing materialized.
Seraphin, who is very talented, should help the Knicks in several areas. He is expected to provide rim protection, rebounding and a low-post scoring element in the Knicks’ Triangle offense. A concern for Seraphin is whether he can stay out of foul trouble — he averaged 5.7 fouls per 36 minutes last season.
Rebounding and interior defense, as well as scoring, were trouble areas for the Knicks last year. New York ranked 27 in the NBA in opponents field goal percentage (46.0%), 21 in scoring defense (101.2), 29 in rebounding (40.4) and last in scoring with 91.9 points a game. The Knicks also had the 28th worst defensive rating (110.0) in the NBA, according to Basketball-Reference.
Seraphin is the fifth interior player that the Knicks have added this offseason and eighth overall. He joins Lopez, O’Quinn, Kristaps Prozingis, Derrick Williams and Lou Amundson in New York’s crowded frontcourt. Carmelo Anthony and Lance Thomas will also see some time at power forward.
New York also added shooting guard Arron Afflalo, rookie point guard Jerian Grant and guard Sasha Vujacic this summer.
The Knicks currently have 14 players under contract with 13 of those being fully guaranteed — second-year guard Langston Galloway is the only player with a partially guaranteed contract although ESPN New York reports that he is expected to make the team.
New York can still add players at the veteran’s minimum. However, the Knicks only have one roster spot open if each of the 14 players currently under contract makes the squad. It is conceivable that the players the Knicks invite to training camp will battle for the final spot.
So, who are these players?
The Knicks will reportedly bring in undrafted free agents Darion Atkins and Wesley Saunders and could also bring in their 2014 second round selection Thanasis Antetokounmpo. Atkins and Saunders have signed partially guaranteed contracts while Antetokounmpo is still unsigned.
Update: TheScore is reporting Antetokounmpo and the Knicks are working on completing a two-year partially guaranteed contract.
Atkins is a 6-foot-8 undersized power forward/center out of Virginia. He is a physical player who is an excellent rebounder. Atkins appeared in nine summer league games with the San Antonio Spurs, averaging 2.3 points and 2.3 rebounds a game while shooting just 20.0% from the field.
Saunders is a 6-foot-5 guard /forward out of Harvard. He is considered to be a defensive specialist with some skill offensively. Saunders averaged 2.8 points and 2.7 rebounds in 15.7 minutes of action while playing six summer league games for the Utah Jazz.
Antetokounmpo wasn’t overly impressive during his summer 2015 league campaign. The 6-foot-7 forward averaged 6.4 points, 1.8 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks in 15.0 minutes of action in five appearances in Las Vegas. Antetokounmpo had his best performance in his last summer league game, tallying 17 points on 7-of-7 shooting against the Washington Wizards on July 17.
Antetokounmpo, who is an astounding athlete, averaged 13.9 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.7 steals, and 1.7 blocks in 32.9 minutes per game last season for the Westchester Knicks in the D-League.
(photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)