Friday , Sep , 05 , 2008 Oly Sandor

Landing LeBron: Why New York considered trading Zach Randolph to Memphis for Darko Milicic and Marko Jaric

For New York, this rumor was about clearing salary and creating sufficient cap space to sign LeBron James in 2010. Years ago, ‘King James’ -while under contract with the Cavaliers- expressed a love of all things five boroughs. He digs ‘the City that never sleeps’ and even cheers for the Yankees when they play his hometown Indians …

Landing LeBron: Why New York considered trading Zach Randolph to Memphis for Darko Milicic and Marko JaricNBA news mixed with analysis …

Their News: The Knicks have a trade proposal on the table with the Memphis Grizzlies that would see Darko Milicic and Marko Jaric dealt to New York in exchange for Zach Randolph.

An executive with knowledge of the trade talks said Friday that Knicks president Donnie Walsh initiated the Randolph-to-Memphis talks with the Grizzlies recently and it’s up to Walsh to sign off on the deal. But it appears Walsh has cooled to the idea of trading his player, the executive said. (ESPN)

Our Analysis: Reports indicate this proposed deal is off. But the Knicks and Grizzlies motives for considering this move are worth examining.

For New York, this rumor was about clearing salary and creating sufficient cap space to sign LeBron James in 2010. Years ago, ‘King James’ –while under contract with the Cavaliers- expressed a love of all things five boroughs. He digs ‘the City that never sleeps’ and even cheers for the Yankees when they play his hometown Indians.

This has fuelled much speculation James will leave Cleveland for New York when his contract expires in July of 2010. To sign ‘man-child’, the Knicks must shed long-term salary. All players with multi-year and multi-million dollar contracts are available.

Swapping Randolph’s three year, 48 million dollar pact for Milicic’s two year, 15 million dollar deal and Jaric’s three year, 21 million dollar contract saves money long-term.

But talent also matters. For example, James won’t sign in New York if his supporting cast is sub par, especially with ‘Redeem’ Team co-star Dwyane Wade scheming on a collaboration.

Perhaps, the Knicks want financial flexibility and good young players in return for Randolph. With this deal, they’d only be getting cap space. After all, Milicic’s contract will have expired by 2010 and the only talent in Jaric’s game is, well, his model wife.  

To sign James, the club must walk a fine line. They must slash payroll, while also finding enough decent teammates to reel-in Cleveland’s superstar. It’s a tricky balancing act for Walsh and the suits at MSG.

Meanwhile, for Memphis, this rumor was about acquiring an on-court asset, one who once averaged 23 points and 10 rebounds with Portland.Of course, Randolph comes with off-court baggage. Most notably his notorious entourage (and they’re not lovable like ‘E’, ‘Drama’, ‘Turtle’ and Ari from ‘Entourage‘).

These influences wouldn’t be ideal for a young-and-promising Grizzlies squad.

Why do you think New York considered this deal? Was it all about LeBron? Get at us with thoughts in the comment box below and come back to HoopsVibe The Blog for more NBA tidbits. Photo courtesy of tuki Knicks.