In the wake of the trade that saw Memphis dump star Pau Gasol in exchange for two first round draft picks, Javaris Crittenton, and the expiring contract of Kwame Brown, I wondered aloud whether the Knicks could get anything approaching that return for their own high-priced, smooth-shooting power forward, Zach Randolph. Forget the draft picks, forget young Crittenton, I would have settled for Kwame’s expiring contract. I may have even sweetened the pot by including a Renaldo Balkman or Wilson Chandler, maybe David Lee or Nate Robinson if you were to twist my arm – anything to get rid of the three seasons and more than $48 million remaining on Z-Bo’s bloated deal.
So I posed the query to a pair of Knicks beat writers: Is it possible to purge the payroll of Zach’s salary, or is the guy a complete albatross? Like all news surrounding this terrible team, their replies were pretty depressing.
Said Frank Isola of the Daily News: “I love Zach as a guy…but I have to agree with you; [that contract is a] complete albatross.”
Said a second writer, who wished to be quoted anonymously: “I think the Lakers (especially Kobe) would have zero interest in bringing in a big who doesn’t/ can’t pass…There won’t be a big market out there for Zach, especially with his escalating contract.”
However, all this discussion appears moot, as the Daily News’ Mitch Lawrence reported yesterday that while the Knicks appear to be shopping bigs Randolph and Eddy Curry around the league, Isiah Thomas is not looking to conduct a “Pau Gasol-type fire sale.” Lawrence states that it is unknown what Zeke might be hoping to grab in return for his titanic busted chemistry set, but the implication seems to be that he expects a GM out there to surrender actual talent for the pair. After all, Zeke surrendered Trevor Ariza, Channing Frye, Joakim Noah, and Tyrus Thomas in order to unite the duo in New York.
As a fan, I can sit here and pray this team gets gutted as soon as possible, but it’s days like today that make it very difficult to keep caring.