Sweet Buck Williams' britches, what a day. In one rotation of the earth, Donnie Walsh swiftly and mercilessly cut payroll and changed the face of our team. The most recent news is still fresh out the oven, but here's a quick look at what seems to be the case:
New York Receives: Al Harrington, Cuttino Mobley, Tim Thomas
Golden State Receives: Jamal Crawford
Los Angeles Receives: Zach Randolph, Mardy Collins (maybe)
That's over $25 million dollars of cap relief in the summer of 2010. It's also the team's two leading scorers (about 40 ppg combined), and one of the league's best rebounders both out the door. Tomorrow will be dedicated to saying farewell to Crawford and Randolph, two players with mixed legacies in New York- both deserving some attention as they board planes to California.
Meanwhile, what does this mean for this season's Knicks, who are a respectable 6-5 heading into tonight's contest in Milwaukee? Well that's two starters scratched. Stephon Marbury has been activated for tonight's game, but I doubt we'll actually see him. For the time being, expect Quentin Richardson to slide down to the 2 spot while David Lee steps into the starting lineup. Or Robinson/Roberson may plug the string-bean shaped hole vacated by Crawford for the time being.
That's the near future. What are the other, long-term implications?
- The Knicks are even farther away from having a frontcourt. Al Harrington's game is Randolph-esque, but with more threes and far less rebounding. The Knicks may need to start Herb Williams at center for the next two seasons.
- On the other hand, David Lee fans can rejoice that our hero's resigning has become more feasible. Or we can live in fear that Walsh is ready to pull the trigger on anybody, and that Lee is an asset to be packaged as the cherry on top of a foul contract later this year.
- Cuttino Mobley is a decent basketball player, but has nothing to contribute besides some shooting, and may never sign another NBA contract.
- Walsh's pickup of Tim Thomas represents some degree of ignorance for Knicks history. If he was trying to erase the legacy of Isiah Thomas, then resurrecting one of Zeke's most perverted acquisitions wasn't the way to go. I understand that he's an expiring deal, but I'd rather just pay the Clippers $12 million for some Universal Studios gift certificates or something. I don't need Tim Thomas back in my life.
- Last, and far from least, is the fact that Donnie Walsh has unmistakeably made his purpose clear. This team is within an Eddy Curry deal away from being legitimate players for the free agent class of 2010. Quincy Douby is within our sights!
The game has changed my friends. Say goodbye to those above-.500 Knicks who were just starting to convince you. Say hello to a team of young studs and expiring contracts that may drive Mike D'Antoni off the deep end before the dawn of 2010. Get ready for many, many losses interspersed with the occasional runaway win (this team just got much more trigger-happy from downtown, if that was possible), prepare for a few more high draft picks to come, and brace yourself for more idle speculation every time LeBron James eats a slice of pizza for the next 2 years. We're rebuilding in earnest, my friends. This is what we wanted, isn't it?