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Following Up Knicks-Clips Talks: Greed Abounds

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The 'Bockers are back and baffling anew!

Late Friday in this space, Jeff reported via Sports Illustrated that the Knicks turned down a proposal from the Clippers to take Zach Randolph off their hands in exchange for cap relief.  New word has since come out on why the Knicks rejected the deal, and it boggles the mind.

Newsday's Alan Hahn reported Saturday that Knicks president Donnie Walsh refused the initial offer because he is trying to nab seventh overall pick Eric Gordon from the Clips in any such transaction.

It seemed to be over with the end of Isiah Thomas' days as head honcho, but apparently not: The Knicks' level of delusion here is simply astounding.

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The Knicks turning down a deal for Randolph was surprising to me.  The idea that they refused a trade because they think him worth a valuable basketball asset makes my head spin.

Getting out from Randolph's massive contract is a wonderful part of the trade the Clips are proposing for the Knicks.  As was noted in the linked report Jeff cited yesterday, the Clips are well under the cap, thus waiving the need for them to match salaries in a deal with the Knicks.

But that's just the point: The cap relief is really only a part of this and possibly a secondary part at that.  An offer to take Randolph means an opportunity for the Knicks to make a monumentally beneficial move in the direction of addition by subtraction.

Yes, we've discussed Z-Bo in these parts before, and the sentiments haven't changed.  But in light of this news on the Knicks' part, a refresher seems worth the time.

This guy isn't just a $48 million cap deadweight.  He also epitomizes the concept of having misleading statistics. 

The fact that Randolph has put together a couple of seasons of averaging 20 points and 10 boards per game seems to occasionally be thought of as an indicator that he is not to be tossed aside lightly.  While that's generally a sound line of logic to follow (as there are only so many 20-10 guys in the league), Randolph may well be the exception that proves the rule.

His offensive production seems to come in a way that is least beneficial to his team.  While Randolph is capable of getting his own points, he does so at the cost of completely stagnating the offense.  His arsenal effectively consists of three moves, all of which start with Z-Bo getting the ball on the right wing.  He loves to jab-step several times until he feels he has cleared enough room for a mid-range jumper.  If he doesn't like the outside looks he is getting on the first couple of foot-fakes, Randolph looks to either go to the middle of the lane for a baby lefty shot or to the baseline for a lay-up underneath.  While he is occasionally effective with these moves, once he gets going on with the jab-steps on the right wing, there is almost no question that he will be making one of his moves and taking his shot.  Defenses are able to converge on him without worrying that he'll look to make his teammates better by spreading the ball or penetrating and dishing to the outside.

Once Randolph has possession, the ball stops moving.  He eats up valuable seconds off the shot clock and often makes the movement or floor spacing of his teammates completely obsolete.  Thus, his presence rarely makes it easier for his team to get buckets on plays on which he isn't isolating.  Meanwhile, Randolph shows very little impetus to move without the ball or get easy baskets via cutting and running screen rolls.  On top of all that, he shoots less than 47 percent for his career, which isn't terrible but also certainly isn't good enough for a supposed interior player who cuts off ball movement and insists on isolating with such regularity.

That play on the offensive end would be the good part of Randolph's game.

In a league that no doubt has its share of folks who have garnered reputations as loafers, Randolph's alleged effort on the defensive end is patently sickening.  He can't be bothered to switch on screens, rotate in help, or close out on a shooter.  He is never in any rush to get back down the floor in transition, and he constantly either loses his man or simply fails to contest him even when he is in the vicinity.  On a team of awful defenders, Randolph may well have taken the cake in putridity last year -- and that's with Eddy Curry as competition.

Of course, one would be remiss to comment on Randolph's defense without a reference to the infamous 'circle play,' as witnessed in person by yours truly back in December against Indiana.  From the Babblings about that game:

After an Indy miss, Randolph failed to get a rebound, as Troy Murphy tipped it away from him.  As Murphy dribbled the ball back to the right wing to reset the offense, Randolph tilted his head, tugged his jersey, yelled at the referee, and walked around in a circle.  All of this occurred just outside the low block, ten feet away from Murphy, who calmly spotted up and canned a trey with no defender within miles of him.  Unpardonable.

Diehard Knicks fan [and Meadville Tribune reporter] Bill 'Willy Po' Powell joined me in attendance of this game.  His thoughts after the fact were brief: "I called 'em like I saw 'em tonight.  I saw Zach Randolph.  I called him a bum.  Easy."  He also insisted on replaying the aforementioned Randolph play 15 times when watching the game film later.  Yeesh.

Randolph's attitude is terrible.  He is known as a terrible history, and he has a history of bizarre behavior both on the court and off.

It truly is nearly impossible to win with players like Z-Bo.  Having even the slightest chance of doing so requires the sort of special group of players and mangement that the Knicks certainly do not have right now.

What all this means is that dumping Zach Randolph would have been an absolute coup for the Knicks, and if it had provided salary cap relief for them, that really would have just been an added bonus.  There is a reason the Trail Blazers were willing to move this guy for the right to buy out Steve Francis and for Channing Frye, who my Blazer fan buddy Acks claims the Portland faithful have already nicknamed Charmin as homage to his softness.  The Knicks spent the last year seeing that reason on a daily basis.

That they could somehow didn't jump at the first chance to move Randolph is shocking.  There isn't really a word to describe the idea that they didn't jump because they thought he was worth trying to finagle a player with some actual value out of the trading partner in question.  Either the level of greed on the Knicks' part is unfathomable, or this team is somehow delusioned beyond all possible belief about Zach Randolph's worth.

One way or the other, the Knicks' management continues to make a spectacle of itself, and not in a good way.  Mind-boggling indeed.