March 20th, 2006 05:47 EST
The New York Knicks.
NBA- I am going to try and assess the franchise we like to call the New York Knicks. The trading deadline has come and gone. Once again, we find ourselves scratching our heads for another puzzling trade/signing by Isiah Thomas.
This has been a week where names like Kevin Garnett, Kenyon Martin, and even Theo Ratliff have been mentioned. Not that Stevie Franchise is not a household name, but it is that Stephon Marbury, Jamal Crawford, and Quentin Richardson already are. The Knicks do not have a starting forward over 6’8, and still wont until next year.
To my understanding, basketball is a game of sharing. Guards, especially, are supposed to complement each other, assisting their teammates in any way.
My question to Isaiah is "why?". Why trade for an All-Star caliber player when you already have Marbury, Richardson, and Crawford? Not to mention the recently acquired Jalen Rose from the Toronto Raptors.
Everyone knows what kind of a coach Larry Brown is. Not only that, everyone knows what kind of players Steve Francis and Stephon Marbury are. It will be interesting to see how the two will coexist, especially when their coach expects a lot out of his guards, i.e. Marc Jackson, Allen Iverson, and Chauncey Billups.
Steve Francis has had problems with every coach he has come across... well, except for Rudy Tomjanovich where, in Houston, Stevie did as he pleased.
Thus, some sympathy must be given to Steve Francis, as he is on the move again. Sure, he must be happy to get out of Orlando, but what happened to Houston? What happened to the player you would be expecting to highlight the Western Conference year after year?
Granted, it brought Tracy McGrady to the Rockets. But since when did people write off the star guard from Maryland?
Do not get me wrong, it is hard to resist a deal that gives you a player like Franchise, while only giving up Penny Hardaway who has only played in all but four games this season. On paper, the five that Isaiah plans to put on the floor of Madison Square Garden is not bad, but neither was the five they started back in October.
You are not giving up much, but do not be surprised if Trevor Ariza, who is versatile in many ways, turns into something even Larry Brown could not predict.
I could not be happier for the Magic franchise, however. The pieces are starting to fall into place while the 20-year old double-double machine, Dwight Howard just keeps getting better and better by the game.
By getting rid of the problem they called Francis, this allows the young talent like Jameer Nelson, Carlos Arroyo and especially Darko Milicic to shine.
Yeah, Darko Milicic If the Serbian ever develops like he’ projected to, then the frontcourt of the Magic will be hard to stop. If he does not, well then Larry Brown is the one to blame.
In addition, I highly doubt that Penny Hardaway will ever play a game in a magic uniform again, after what he did to get then-head-coach Brian Hill fired. All he did was coach that team to three 50-win seasons and to the finals in ’95.
The Magic have the cap space now that Francis is gone to lure some hot free agents to Florida, most notably the 2003 draft class of LeBron James, Carmello Anthony, and Dwayne Wade when their contracts expire in 2007.
Maybe the Knicks should have planned to build around Channing Frye and Trevor Ariza, and dumped their recent summer addition in Eddy Curry. Bring in a forward/center that can hold his position under the boards and grab those defensive rebounds that a 15-38 team desperately needs. A 15 and 38 win/loss record will not get you anywhere near the playoffs, nor will it provide any job security, Isaiah.
The arrival of Francis means only one thing. The departure of either Richardson or Crawford, where Thomas is willing to try anything to have his team meet the expectations of their fans, or in this case save his job.
The Knicks are more than ten games behind Philadelphia for the final playoff spot, and only a miraculous turnaround could get them into the post season this year. Still, it was a virtual certainty that New York would make a deal of some kind, but at this point Isaiah has been adding millions to the payroll, while forgetting about adding wins to the win column.