July 15, 2024

Contenders are eyeing the Knicks’ free agent forward following Isaiah Hartenstein’s departure to the Oklahoma City Thunder on a substantial three-year, $87 million contract. This move signals a greater reliance on Mitchell Robinson as the Knicks’ primary center, especially given a season marked by injuries that heavily tested their bench depth.

Achiuwa’s Future with the Knicks
One of the key backups last season was Precious Achiuwa, acquired in a trade that also brought OG Anunoby from the Toronto Raptors. Despite the Knicks declining Achiuwa’s $6.27 million option, there is significant interest in him from other contending teams this off-season. According to Ian Begley of SNY, Achiuwa remains open to re-signing with the Knicks.

Performance and Potential Role
Achiuwa appeared in 74 games last season, averaging 7.6 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 1.3 assists with a shooting percentage of 50.1%. Although primarily a power forward, he often filled in at center due to his defensive prowess and passing ability, despite standing at 6 feet 8 inches, shorter than traditional centers.

Isaiah Hartenstein is everything Knicks need (and more): How Nikola Jokic's  former backup became indispensable - CBSSports.com


Knicks’ Roster Strategy
The decision to decline Achiuwa’s qualifying offer could be part of a broader salary cap strategy or a reassessment of roster needs. However, there remains a possibility of bringing him back to bolster the team’s depth. In the recent draft, the Knicks added new players like Tyler Kolek from Marquette, likely to serve as a backup point guard. This creates a potential vacancy for a backup center role, a position Achiuwa could fill, albeit not necessarily as the first choice.

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