Originally posted on Knicks Journal  |  Last updated 4/11/13
For all the years in the last decade during which the Knicks failed to put forth a competitive team, frustrating fans as they paled in comparison to the real contenders of the league, at least no one can say they haven't continued to try this season.The New York Knicks have been quite a resilient bunch this season. Considering all that they've encountered and all that they've overcome, the fact that they are Atlantic Division Champions (for the first time since Kurt Thomas was a junior in college) and are holding on to the second seed in the Eastern Conference is truly remarkable.But even as they hold on to that very placement in the East, it's becoming more difficult than ever for the Knicks to field a full team on an NBA hardwood on a nightly basis as of late. The likes of Amar'e Stoudemire, Rasheed Wallace, and Marcus Camby have battled injuries all season long, making it all the more devastating to see the likes of Tyson Chandler, Kurt Thomas, and Kenyon Martin go down over the last two weeks or so as well.The Knicks have so much depth, that it's almost as though they planned for certain injuries to occur to certain players. It was known that not everyone was going to appear in all 82 games, nor were some of those same veterans going to be expected to play 20-30 minutes per contest either. But desperate times call for desperate measures, and now seems to be the most desperate of all. The team's entire front-line is completely and utterly devastated.That is, of course, except for Chris Copeland. On a fully healthy Knickerbocker squad, the 29 year old rookie could arguably be considered a small forward. But with all six of those previously mentioned players currently sidelined, Cope has been sharing minutes at the five with players like Steve Novak and even Carmelo Anthony.If the Knicks truly want to end the season on a positive note and secure the second seed in their conference, they cannot rely on Copeland (an obvious liability at the five) at center. Something needed to happen, and New York found it necessary to make a move.The trick becomes figuring out who you cut in order to bring someone else aboard. Though he hasn't played since December, Rasheed Wallace sparked a huge run for the Knicks earlier this season, elevated their defense, and was a big-time fan-favorite every time he hit the hardwood. There's hope of him returning for the playoffs, and just as Mike Woodson and company have hung on to that very hope since December, they'll continue to do so.Kenyon Martin has elevated the Knicks' play in a similar way, perhaps even more so providing New York with that presence down low that makes opposing offenses afraid to come inside. There's been no confirmation that he'll be out for the long-haul, so the Knicks will simply have to anxiously await his return in the coming days.James White is by far the worst player on the Knicks, having provided them with little else besides representation in the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest earlier this year. But he is, if nothing else, a healthy body. With six players out, it's hard to justify cutting a guy who can technically give you more than the bevy of players who are sidelined.The choice then comes down to Marcus Camby and Kurt Thomas, the organization's form of good karma this year. Each player returned to the Big Apple this season after having led the Knicks to their last NBA Finals appearance in 1999. Each big man has faced injuries this season, but both have respectively been seen on the bench cheering the team on. That's more than you can say for the other injured players.Camby has had one of the most inconsistent seasons of his career, failing to get healthy enough for Coach Woodson to feel comfortable playing him in back to back games. It's difficult to rely upon on a contributor like that. That said, Camby does indeed have a multi-year deal, so cutting him would come at a more expensive penny than anyone else.That leaves Thomas. What you see is what you get with the big man at this point, and as lovable as he is, right now it's easy to see he's injured and unable to contribute to everyone's liking. It's a real shame to see him "go," especially with the Knicks contending and their chances of accomplishing something special still alive. He deserved to be a part of all this the second time around. Unfortunately, the ultimate sacrifice on Thomas' part is seeing the team cut him loose so that they can bring somebody else more able in the fold...their chances of continuing to compete may very well depend on it.That "somebody" is James Singelton, the gritty combo forward capable of muscling his way inside for rebounds and getting in opponents' faces on defense. More than simply a capable body, the 31 year old is defensive-minded guy who can help ensure the Knicks don't miss out on all too much during the absences of Kenyon Martin & company. It's just a bummer his arrival had to come at the cost of losing Thomas.
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