Isiah More of an Observer Than Buyer as Trading Deadline Approaches
It may seem a little odd, but Knicks' big cheese Isiah Thomas will probably sit this one out. As the NBA trading deadline approaches, nothing is on the table. For a guy that made his bones wheelin' and dealin,' things won't be the same without him making an announcement on who is coming to town.
His activity of the past three deadlines was extent, even if the results were not. Keith Van Horne went to Milwaukee in 2003 for Tim Thomas. A year later, Malik Rose (left) and Maurice Taylor came aboard. And last season Steve Francis was brought in.
The Knicks have played much better than last year. They are still six games under .500 and out of the playoff picture, but have already matched their 2005-06 win total of 23 with the 107-106 victory in Los Angeles over the Lakers. The youth movement seems to be working. They are playing with energy and seem to want to make their head coach look good, who just happens to be the same person who acquired every player on the roster.
The last player drafted a year ago has become the most important cog of the bunch. David Lee, the forward out of Florida, has become a force and logs a double-double nearly every night. He has started, but Thomas likes to bring him off the bench. He is usually on the floor in the most important minutes of the game, regardless if he is in his warm-ups at the opening tip. Forward Channing Frye has taken a step back after a good start to his rookie season. And guard Nate Robinson is getting buried in the rotation and his sloppy play has caused him to miss quality minutes of late.
Can either Frye or Robinson be moved at the deadline? Quite possibly. Both have value and have drawn interest around the league. One rumor has the Cleveland Cavaliers obtaining Frye and giving up Drew Gooden in return. Intriguing, when you remember that Gooden came into the league with much promise and has bounced around a bit.
The main name being bantered about is Steve Francis. But with his big contract and knee issues, any deal involving him will have to include a player with the same problems. So there will not be much to gain there. Either way, figure on the former 'Franchise' (at least in his own mind) to be on his way out. A buy-out is possible, and no one on either side will shed a tear when he's gone.
Standing pat may have better implications than making a deal for the sake of dealing. If the Knicks can dump someone like Jerome James, it can't hurt to build up with a few draft choices. But the most likely scenario will be no movement at all. And that ain't half bad.