Andrea Bargnani will miss at least the first three regular season games for the Knicks, according to the team. He’s sat out the last two weeks of training camp and preseason with a hamstring injury and underwent an MRI earlier this week.
Bargnani ruled out for first three games.
— Scott Cacciola (@ScottCacciola) October 26, 2014
Bargnani will miss the Knicks’ season opener on October 29 against the Chicago Bulls, the October 30 game in Cleveland against the Cavaliers, and the November 2 home game against the Charlotte Hornets. And possibly more.
Bargnani has been plagued by injuries for several years, appearing in just 42 games last season after suffering a torn ligament in his right elbow. He averaged 13.3 points and 5.3 rebounds in his first season with the Knicks.
With Bargnani out, it’s likely that Jason Smith will start at power forward, with either Samuel Dalembert or Cole Aldrich at center. There’s a good chance that this will continue even after Bargnani returns — the former No. 1 pick is a complete liability on the defensive end who doesn’t really fit with any other combination of bigs on the Knicks’ roster. Last season, Mike Woodson attempted to play Bargnani at center in some smaller lineups with Carmelo Anthony at power forward, which proved to be a disaster. New head coach Derek Fisher will have other options. Not great ones, but other options nonetheless.
Bargnani is in the final year of his contract, which will pay him $11.5 million. Phil Jackson will undoubtedly try to shop him before the trade deadline in February, but it’s unlikely he gets anything of value in return, whether Bargnani is injured or not.