Friday , Jun , 29 , 2007 Oly Sandor

Portland Trail Blazers Keep Working Draft Day-Deal Zach Randolph to N.Y. Knicks, Acquire Steve Francis & Channing Frye

The Blazers did more than draft Greg Oden-they dumped Randolph’s expensive contract on the Knicks … Portland had an excellent day … But will Francis stay in Rip City? … And how will Randolph mesh with Eddy Curry in New York? … Click here for news and analysis …

ESPN reports on the New York Knicks-Portland Trail Blazers draft day trade:

The New York Knicks didn’t have a lottery pick Thursday night but made their own draft-night splash by acquiring Portland big man Zach Randolph.

The Knicks and Trail Blazers reached agreement on a deal that swaps Randolph and teammates Dan Dickau and Fred Jones for guard Steve Francis and Channing Frye.

Francis has only two seasons left on his contract, worth just over $34 million, but possesses the option to become a free agent after next season. The Blazers, however, are planning to buy out Francis’ contract and make him a free agent this summer, sources said.

Yet even if they changed course and decided to keep Francis, his arrival would still provide Portland with some long-term payroll relief, since Randolph has four seasons left on his contract worth more than $61 million.

Randolph averaged 23.6 points and 10.1 rebounds in a breakout season in 2006-07 but has faced an uncertain future in Portland since late May, when Portland won the No. 1 overall pick in the draft lottery and the right to select Greg Oden. But the Blazers, who continue to put a premium on good citizenship after years of turmoil, prefer to jettison Randolph and build around a front line of Oden and LaMarcus Aldridge.

But neither Randolph‘s troubled off-court past nor the fact that New York already has a low-post presence in Eddy Curry appears to concern Knicks president Isiah Thomas.

My Quick Take: Portland had a good day. First, they officially welcomed to the franchise by taking the center first overall in yesterday’s NBA Draft. Second, they stole , a hi-flying two-guard, at the end of the first round. He’ll come over from Europe in a couple of seasons. Third, they dumped Zach Randolph and his 61 million dollar contract on the New York Knicks. Finally, they got Channing Frye and Steve Francis in return from . Frye will stick with the team; Francis will get bought out.

Actually, Portland had an excellent day. There’s no other way to put it. ‘Rip City’ is back in business. Look for the Blazers to quickly develop into a Western Conference power.  

Meanwhile, Knick fans went crazy when this deal was announced. It’s like they won the NBA Title. Hey, I’m not going to hate on the NYC. The five boroughs is the basketball Mecca of the world. And I appreciate their passion for hoops.

But Randolph and are similar players. They both hold the ball on offense and struggle to pass out of double-teams. The good news? Both posts are talented enough to command double teams.

However, Randolph and Curry are average defenders. Z-Bo is a slightly better rebounder. 

There are concerns about Randolph living in New York. This is fair. He’s gotten into some trouble over the years. But he made strides last season, calling a team meeting and doing a better job accepting accountability.

Hopefully, his new attitude spills over to the Knicks next season.

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