Monday, September 8, 2008

HoF Ceremonies Over: Back to Zach Rumors

By Chip Crain

A lot of people, myself included, believe that the rumored Zach Randolph trade was put on hold over the last few days after Memphis gave New York their most recent offer of Darko and Marco for Zach Randolph if New York eats the deferred payments on Randolph's contract. Any action by the Knicks was tabled so that Patrick Ewing could be the center of attention this past weekend at the Basketball Hall of Fame ceremonies in Springfield, Mass.

Donnie Walsh has already admitted the talks are going on and when GM's admit publicly they are looking to trade one of their players a deal is usually already done.

Why an NBA team would take such ceremonies so seriously to hold up a proposed deal of this magnitude is anyone's guess. I mean this isn't the NBA Hall of Fame after all but the generic Basketball Hall of Fame. Dick Vitale was being honored as well after all. We're not talking big time baby! I don't mean to be rude but Vitale is best known as a pimp for the Duke Blue Devils after all. He's one of the most ridiculed announcers in sports since Howard Cosell passed away. Does he really deserve a place in the Basketball Hall of Fame?

Why doesn't the NBA have its own Hall of Fame anyway?

But I am getting away from the issue here. New York has been on hold so that they wouldn't steal the thunder from Patrick and I guess that is as good a reason as any to seriously consider whether it makes sense to unload Zack Randolph for Darko and Marko. I don't believe the money is a serious issue for the Knicks after all. It's not like they don't waste money anyway. This is the team that failed to take advantage of the Allen Houston Rule by waving Allen Houston after all.

So the question becomes does New York want to get rid of Randolph so badly that they are willing to accept two players generally considered trash on one of the worst teams in the league for him? The deal only makes sense if New York seriously wants to unload as much salary as possible to make a run for LeBron James in the summer of 2010. Wouldn't that make the deal a version of the 3 Year Plan so widely criticized in Memphis after all? Sure Darko would strengthen their interior but anyone would strengthen an interior manned by Eddie Curry. Marko would provide depth at three positions as well. Darko and Marko are also both Serbs and would be able to keep each other company. And lord knows Adriana Lima would be happier in the model capital of North America over Memphis but is that alone a good enough reason to swing this deal? I mean it's not like New York has to worry about models drawing attendance to MSG anyway.

One serious concern for the Knicks has to be the pressure that Darko would be under in New York. This is a city not known for the having the most concilliatory fans after all. The pressure to perform will be immense in the Big Apple and Darko hasn't alwasy responded well to stressful situations. One of the main reasons people expected Darko to do well in Memphis was the lack of pressure he would be under here.

The reason the Grizzlies could be interested in Zach is obvious. He is a name player that could sell tickets and he would dramatically improve the rebounding on the Grizzlies roster. He brings experience and a veteran voice to a very young team as well. Zach is capable of averaging 20 pts and 10 rebounds a game and when motivated and focused is a load for any opponent to contain.

The negatives are also obvious. Zach is known as a player more interested in his own statistics than his team's success, is considered a weak defender (and the Grizzlies are supposed to be attempting to improve their defense this season) and has been injury prone over the last 4 seasons most likely associated with his large girth and poor conditioning. I am not saying this is a fact but he was shipped out of Portland and is now being shopped by New York so there may be some truth to these rumors.

And let's not forget the financial terms of his contract which are as large as Zach himself.

Anyway, I expect there to be some news on this front early in the week as the Knicks get back to work after the long weekend honoring Patrick Ewing. Unless the Knicks decide to wait another week of course. Maybe they are scared of stepping on the thunder from Brett Favre's home opener with the Jets while Chris Wallace keeps hoping to catch lightning in a bottle.

BallHype: hype it up!


Anonymous said...

You pretty well summed it up there, Chip. It seems to me mainly about a mutual swap of bad contracts where the Griz would get one extra bad year of Randolph's. The first two years would essentially equal out and Randolph is a definite step up to Darko/Marco. It seems the Serbs are a package deal along with the model babe. If we could wrangle a conditional first rounder then that would make that third year more palatable. But I do have to admit I am a bit, okay a lot, concerned about having Toine and Zbo on the same team. Maybe if we could give them Toine too that would be really great.

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