By Jason Wojciechowski on September 6, 2008 at 3:46 AM
Story here. The deal is Zach Randolph (3 years, $48 million) for Darko (2 years, $14 million) and Marko Jaric (3 years, $21 million). The savings, then, is about $2 million in 2008-09; $2 million in 2009-10; and $9 million going into the magical summer of 2010.
But doesn't this deal make a lot of sense on the court for the Knicks, too? They dump Randolph's attitude and his inability to get up and down the floor while picking up a guy who defends the rim and a decent backup point with size. It's mostly addition by subtraction, although Randolph's 17 PPG ain't nothing to sneeze at. Jaric + Milicic aren't making that up. On the other hand, it'd mean more ball for Quentin Richardson, Jamal Crawford, and The Big Cock, which is a fairly talented group.
The question is what Memphis is getting out of this. It costs them money long-term and short-term. I guess what it does is give them a real power forward. Darrell Arthur's young and stupid, and Hakim Warrick is a nice piece, but not a 17 PPG guy. That's it for PF's on that squad, unless you count Antoine Walker, which ESPN apparently does. (He's listed as a PF on their Memphis roster page.) If your Memphis starting lineup is Conley or Lowry at point, OJ Mayo at two, Rudy Gay at three, Randolph at four, and ... well, center becomes a problem, because with the subtraction of Darko, you're down to two rookies who played overseas last year: the Iranian star Hamed Haddadi and Marc Gasol. It's actually a lineup with some talent, some excitement, although it's not a deep team by any means. Two good points is nice, and a third, Javaris Crittenton, who some teams would probably love as a #2, but the only other shooting guard on the roster is Greg Buckner, there are no small forwards aside from Gay, and we've already talked about the big man situation.
But even with that utter lack of depth, doesn't the upgrade from your fourth point guard + your center with no upside to Zach Randolph take you from 22 wins to 30? No, it's not a huge improvement, but playing better, playing closer, winning some games, might matter to a fanbase that's been abused the last few years. Maybe this deal actually does help both teams.