The proposed sign-and-trade that Chase wrote about (David Lee to the Golden State Warriors for Anthony Randolph, Kelenna Azubuike and Ronny Turiaf) has been finalized. As I wrote in the comments section of that post, I’m not thrilled with the move. While Randolph (the heart of this trade) has otherworldly potential, he does play the same position of power forward as our big new signee, Amar’e Stoudemire. For potential to blossom, a player needs minutes like a flower needs water. Sure we could possibly move Amar’e over to center for a bit, but Amar’e has said many times in the past that he prefers to not play that position. Personally, I think we should’ve kept David Lee to make up for Amar’e rebounding deficiencies, ‘cuz it ain’t like Randolph is known for doing the dirty work or the little things. Plus Lee is a known commodity that could be used in a trade. If Randolph doesn’t develop, then we gave away a home-grown All-Star for nuthin’.
That said, there are solid reasons for the move. Randolph does have the potential to be better than Lee, plus since he’s still on his rookie contract, it frees up a lot more cap space so we can remain big-time players in next summer’s free agency race for Carmelo Anthony and Tony Parker. Also, and perhaps equally important, the two “additional” players of Azabuike and Turiaf are perfect pieces for us. Azabuike is a solid shooting guard, which is important ‘cuz we don’t have any other true 2s on the team (last year Wilson Chandler often played at that position, but he’s more of a natural small forward). Turiaf, meanwhile, is something we haven’t seen in a while: a shot blocking center who plays defense with enthusiasm. Actually, he does everything with enthusiasm. Even on the bench he’s the loudest, happiest, most involved player (yup, often more involved than those guys who are actually on the court). Players love having him on the team. Without a doubt he’ll be the new fan favorite.
However, the real big new news is that it seems that the Knicks have come to an agreement with the top available point guard, Raymond Felton. He’s no Chris Paul or Tony Parker, but he’s frequently underrated. Last year he averaged 12.1 points, 5.6 assists and 1.5 steals on a very respectable (for a perimeter player) 45.9% shooting. Add in the fact that he’s going from a Larry Brown slow-it-down-half-court offense to Coach Mike D’Antoni’s seven-seconds-or-less offense, and Felton should easily top those numbers. His starting salary is expected to be in the $7 million range, which is fairly reasonable considering how many players have gotten over the top deals this summer. It’s an honest enough deal that should we get Tony Parker or Chris Paul down the road, it shouldn’t be too tough to move Felton. Lastly, as I mentioned in a previous post, stealing Felton also greatly weakens his former team, the Charlotte Bobcats, which should leave one more playoff spot open for us.
One last thing, Donnie Walsh was quoted as saying that he thinks the Knicks are done with their free-agent signings. I’m hoping that’s not 100% true because I’d like us to snag one more player (who perhaps technically would be considered a returning player rather than a genuine free agent?). I’m talking about Earl Barron. He showed real promise in the last, what was it, 11 games? Of course it’s possible he’s asking for too much as centers are a rarity this summer, resulting in solid but unspectacular players like Brendan Haywood getting 6 years at $55 million. Then again other GMs might be cautious about buying Barron’s seemingly good stats, since not only did he play just 11 games, but he played them in the Knicks’ faster paced offense which can bump up stats (which even made teams concerned about whether David Lee’s great numbers were a bit of a mirage). Regardless, with rebounding a possible serious weak spot for us, I’d love for us to make a run at Barron so we can see if he’s got the goods or not.
Topics: Anthony Randolph, Carmelo Anthony, Charlotte Bobcats, Chris Paul, David Lee, Donnie Walsh, Earl Barron, Kelenna Azubuike, Larry Brown, Mike D'Antoni, New York Knicks, Raymond Felton, Ronny Turiaf, Tony Parker