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The Z-Bo Sweepstakes

Alright, so maybe it isn't that dramatic. There is, however, a surprising amount of interest around the league for the Knicks' own Zach Randolph. Well, at least one team is interested. As rumors of Zach-to-Cleveland are starting to fizzle (tip of the hat to Cavalier Attitude), new rumblings have emerged from Memphis, of all places. From the Memphis Edge, earlier this week:

The Griz are willing to part with Darko Milicic (last year’s big free agent signing) in a package that wouldn’t require a core player (OJ Mayo, Rudy Gay, Mike Conley, etc). What the brain trust seems to be debating is whether Randolph fits the Grizzlies’ style on and off the court.

Randolph is a bonafide low-post scorer who can shoot along the perimeter and rebound. But he doesn’t offer much on defense, something the Griz desperately want to upgrade and Randolph’s character issues may present a problem.

That said, the Griz need talent. Randolph would beef up a thin power forward corps of Hakim Warrick and rookie Darrell Arthur. They’ve got a group of "nice guys" so adding one knucklehead in Randolph shouldn’t be a big deal. Although second-year head coach Marc Iavaroni struggled at times effectively communicating with players, he is credited with helping Phoenix big man Amare Stoudemire take his game to the next level.

(HT to Alan Hahn on that one). I think I know now what Portland fans must have felt like last summer. It stirs within me a sort of smug satisfaction to know that another team thinks it has the influence to coax Randolph into maximizing his potential. As far as this particular trade goes, Darko is notoriously underwhelming and injury-prone, but when healthy, might offer some of the defense and toughness currently lacking in the Knick frontcourt. He also comes with a contract that expires in 2010, which fits right into Donnie Walsh's stated plans. Regarding the rest of the Memphis package, we would've been drooling over Kyle Lowry or Javaris Crittenton months ago, but the Duhon and Roberson signings leave little room for another point guard. Funny how things change. Instead, I'd love a future second round draft pick. Or even first round, if that could somehow be finagled.

The issue, as I've mentioned before, is that the meager package the Knicks assembled to acquire Z-Bo (Channing Frye and the Succubus) will likely be in the back of any future trading partners' minds. So if the Grizz aren't willing to offer anything more than Darko Milicic and a box of Snackwells Cookie Cakes (the devil's food ones, not the tasty ones with the mint filling), we just might have to bite. Beggars can't be choosers, ya know?

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Improvements for 2008: Frontcourt depth, post defense, and rich chocolatey filling.

I guess the question is how determined we are to rid ourselves of Randolph. Is he dispensable at all costs, or does he have a shot at finding himself in the D'Antoni system? I tend to find myself in the former camp, but let yourself be heard in the comments.