The New York Knicks keep sending feelers out at about every semi-viable free agent left, with Ivan Johnson, most recently with the Atlanta Hawks, becoming their next target, as they try to fill out their roster with quality bench players.
After showing a lot of interest in guards like Beno Udrih and Jannero Pargo, they also turn their attention to Johnson, a power forward, according to Jared Zwerling at ESPNNewYork.com. The problem in completing the deal right now? Johnson is trying to see if any team in the league is willing to use their Mid-Level exception on him, while the Knicks can only give him a minimum deal.
Johnson had done pretty well in his limited role for the Hawks over the last couple of seasons, averaging 6.5 points and 3.9 rebounds per game. He’s physically impressive around the rim, and is a strong finisher and rebounder in the paint. He likes to see himself as somewhat of an enforcer, but the problems begin when Johnson tries doing things he shouldn’t be, like attempting to hit mid-range jumpers or actually put the ball on the floor.
The Knicks are pretty stacked at their frontline, with Andrea Bargnani, Amare Stoudemire, Kenyon Martin and Tyson Chandler, but the Knicks don’t seem to be building the team with a traditional lineup in mind. In any case, the injury history of these players mean Johnson, even if not meant to be initially, can become quite the valuable player for the Knicks if he agrees to sign with them.
Johnson is the kind of player that isn’t very popular around the league but loved by the fans of his own team due to his very physical, sometimes dirty style. Similar to players like Metta World Peace or Kenyon Martin, who might become his teammates, and serving as a counter to someone like Kevin Garnet, who’ll be rivaling the Knicks a little bit closer to home next season.