Randolph Trade Hits a Late Hitch

And you thought this was done! Cuttino Mobley's ticker troubles are throwing a very late wrench in Friday's cap-clearing deal. From NBA.com, (via TKB):

The trade between the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Clippers involving forward Zach Randolph, forward Tim Thomas, guard Cuttino Mobley and guard Mardy Collins is currently in limbo because of a physical concern raised by the Knicks about Mobley, according to a source. As a result, Randolph was not in uniform for the Clippers' 99-87 loss to the Hornets on Monday.

The source said that the Knicks raised the concerns about Mobley and have yet to sign off on the deal as a result. While players do have to pass a physical in order to join their new teams, those teams are allowed to waive physicals in order to expidite trades. It is not known if Mobley has taken a physical yet in New York.

Players have 48 hours from the time a deal is finalized to report to their new teams, and are given an additional 24 hours to take their physicals, the results of which are usually posted and approved quickly.

In this case, that means the respective teams would have until Tuesday afternoon to approve any physicals. A Clippers source said that while they hoped Randolph would play Monday, they weren't expecting him to be available until Tuesday at the earliest.

Tommy at the Knicks Blog thinks Donnie Walsh will go through with the trade anyway, and I'd bet the same. This trade is too clutch and too long-gone to let it fall apart the next week. New York has some of the best doctors in the world, and measures can be taken to ensure that Mobley is able to play. If he can't, at least Donnie's got the expiring contract to grasp onto.

Meanwhile, Alan Hahn's under the impression that waiving the physical is a foregone conclusion, and that Walsh is messing around and saving the approval until Wednesday, so that Randolph and Collins can't suit up for the Clippers tonight. That can't be legal.

(Tip of the hat to BreadCity for jumping on the story in the Fanshots.)

Update: Frank Isola:

The Knicks still have the option of waiving Mobley's physical, and it is doubtful that the deal will be rescinded because the Knicks' top priority was to acquire two players whose contracts expire after next season. If anything, Knicks president Donnie Walsh may be looking for additional compensation - perhaps a first-round pick - from the Clippers in order to sign off on the trade.

It's hard to imagine a scenario in which somebody's heart problem has a silver lining...but a draft pick? That'd be sweet.

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