Knicks Stand Pat at NBA Trading Deadline
Considering that they were coming off a 40-point loss to a self also-ran, the New York Knicks had every reason to tear what ever was left of their team apart at the NBA trading deadline this past week. But, lo and behold, that same group that was 20 games under .500 is going to be around until the bitter end this season.
Maybe they will begin to make a miraculous run at the eight and final seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race. And maybe I'll win both Mega Millions and Lotto this week. For what it's worth, the Knicks did win their last game, 103-99, versus the Toronto Raptors.
Head honcho Isiah Thomas had been saying different things in the weeks leading up to the trading deadline, but mostly was hinting that the team was not looking to move anyone. There were strong rumors that power forward Zach Randolph would be on his way to Denver, but there was reportedly a difference of opinion in their front office about taking on the expensive contract and behavior issues that he would bring in his heavy baggage.
At the beginning of the week, Thomas told reporters another reason why the Knicks may be quiet on deal day. "Right now there are some guys on our team that don't have as high of a value," he said. "I think that's a direct reflection of how our season is going."
While that perhaps may be partially true, what is holding other general managers back from taking on a Knick or two is more of a contract and talent issue. To take on a long-term agreement with a player that is getting overpaid over a multi-year deal would put the prospective other team in the same predicament as the Knicks. And why would someone other than Thomas ever make a detrimental move such as that?
Another player that has apparently not only lost his value on the open market, but in his own locker room, as well, is center Eddy Curry. (How ironic is it that the two players (Curry and Randolph) that Thomas wanted to run the offense through have lost so much trust from their head coach since October?) Curry, he who took away all those first round draft picks in the trade for him, has been more of a spectator of late instead of making things happen in the paint. In the home win against Toronto, he was yanked after nine minutes of the opening quarter and didn't take off his warm-ups after that, only scoring two points in the process.
Thomas attributed his benching to something other than effectiveness. "He's a big part of our plans," he said to reporters. "But some nights the matchups aren't there." He further explained that the Raptors are a team that plays 'small' and it was not a good fit for the seven-footer.
If Curry had any value at some point, he has seemed to lose much - if not all - of it lately. He did have a good season a year ago and seemed to be an All-Star snub. In 2007-08, he couldn't get a sniff - let alone a snub - to make it to the mid-season extravaganza.
It really doesn't matter what the Knicks do at this point. This has been a season to write off before you kept score on opening night. But it would have been refreshing to see them try to erase some of their many mistakes when teams are desperate for playoff jockeying and may be inclined to take on a player.