There were two big trades last Tuesday, but since they both involved the Knicks, we will combine them for this trade column.
Golden State Warriors get: Jamaal Crawford, PG/SG;
LA Clippers get: Zach Randolph, PF; Mardy Collins, PG;
New York Knicks get: Al Harrington, SF/PF/C only in small ball; Cuttino Mobley, SG; Tim Thomas, SF/PF;
Why the Warriors did it: Al Harrington was very unhappy in Golden State, and you can’t really blame him. He started his career as a small forward backing up Ron Artest in Indiana, but Don Nelson had him playing as a center for the Warriors. In exchange for Harrington the Warriors received Jamaal Crawford. While his defense is poor due to his lack of attention for that half of the game, Crawford is a good offensive player with a deep repertoire to fall back on. He can shoot from anywhere, back down the many smaller point guards he faces, and get his teammates involved. Warriors fans might not like Anthony Morrow getting fewer minutes with the arrival of Crawford, but it is for the best. Morrow is a good shooter, but he needs Stephen Jackson to create for him. Crawford can create for himself as well as for his teammates. Plus, when Monte Ellis comes back, the Warriors can…start four shooting guards with Ellis, Crawford, Jackson, and Corey Maggette. I’m sure Don Nelson can’t wait.
Why the Clippers did it: Well to be honest. I am not really sure why the Clippers did this trade. Marcus Camby hasn’t played really well since they got him, but he was coming off an injury and it is still early in the season. Maybe the Clippers have a trade in place to get rid of Camby, Zach Randolph, or Chris Kaman. Regardless, the weakness that was present on this team before this trade was the lack of consistent swingmen on the Clipper roster. They fixed that by…trading away two of their swingmen?
To be fair those swingmen were Cuttino Mobley and Tim Thomas. Mobley is a shell of his former self, and Tim Thomas has never played up to the level of his talent. This trade does create minutes for talented rookie Eric Gordon and more minutes for Al Thornton who is a very good, young player. Still they now lack depth even more so at the swingmen positions while creating a logjam at the big men spots. The Clippers needed to make a change after their slow start, but I don’t think this is the way to go.
Why the Knicks did it: Bruce Ratner the current owner of the Nets has not fared very well in the present economy. It has delayed his stadium deal in Brooklyn, it has put a dent in his economy, and more important for basketball fans: it has hampered his ability to sign Lebron. Enter the Knicks. They were always primed to have a large amount of cap space by the time Lebron became a free agent, but with Donnie Walsh they have gone into over drive. All three players they have received will be free agents by 2010, and at that point the New York Knicks will have a staggering 33 million dollars of cap space to spend. That’s enough money to get Lebron and another superstar to complement him.
As for this season, well, the players the Knicks received haven’t played well in a couple of seasons. However, their respective skill sets should fit in nicely with D’Antoni. All can shoot well from outside, and are fairly unselfish with the ball. They don’t have as much realized talent as the players they replace, but perhaps this will open up minutes for Eddy Curry or Stephon Marbury.
Analysis/who won the deal(s)?: The Warriors traded a player who didn’t play for them for a player who fits their system well. The Knicks traded their surprisingly competitive present for an uncertain, although potentially promising, future. The Clippers traded two poorly playing players for a potential cancer who will play in a situation where many babied all stars like him become cancers. So, in the short term the winner of these trade flurries has to be the Warriors while the Knicks benefit the most in the long term.