Wednesday, June 26, 2002
Updated: June 27, 9:04 AM ET
Knicks blockbuster may be the tip of iceberg
By Chad Ford
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There was talk. A pop and then fizz.
More talk and a pack of Tums.
And then more talk.
That's how the trade business works. A lot of talk, little action.
Five minutes before New York was to make its selection at No. 7 all the talk stopped. Antonio McDyess, who had hemmed and hawed for the last 24 hours about being traded to the Knicks, finally gave the team the thumbs up they were looking for. He agreed to waive an opt-out clause in his contract, guaranteeing that he'll remain a Knick for at least the next two seasons.
The Knicks turned around and sent Marcus Camby, Mark Jackson and Nene Hilario (No. 7) to the Nuggets for McDyess and the 25th pick that turned into Frank Williams.
It was the type of blockbuster trade that Knicks president Scott Layden needed to sidestep the firing squad that was taking aim in the Garden. The Knicks had the highest payroll in the league, but were still mired in the lottery.
Layden's logic was simple: What's better than a young Antonio McDyess?
Answer: The real Antonio McDyess.
Layden's ability to pull off a draft-day miracle, just as we were ready to write off the Knicks for years to come, is just one move in a series of steps that will be played out the next month as the NBA silly season rears its head.
If Scott Layden has his way, the Knicks aren't done. They spent most of Wednesday also trying to land disgruntled Cavs point guard Andre Miller. At several points during the day it looked as if the Knicks had pulled off that deal as well. But the Cavs remained torn between adding McDyess to their team or going younger. When the deal fell through, the Knicks decided to take McDyess and run.
Now, expect the Knicks to change their focus to Dallas. The Mavs are offering Nick Van Exel in return for Kurt Thomas and Charlie Ward. Van Exel may be tough to deal with, but he's the dynamic point guard they've been looking for.
The Cavs' drafting of Dajuan Wagner almost assures that Miller should keep his bags packed, but GM Jim Paxson sounded like he was actually considering keeping Miller around.
"We'll feel very comfortable playing Andre and Dajuan together," Paxson said in prepared statement. C'mon.
The Cavs were just seconds away from trading Miller to the Clippers Tuesday night. According to the L.A. Times, after negotiating most of the day, the Cavaliers called the Clipps just as they were turning in their No. 8 pick -- offering to make a deal for Lamar Odom if the Clippers would draft Caron Butler for them and give them No. 12.
However, the Clippers had already phoned in their selection to the league -- Chris Wilcox -- making it official.
The Clippers then spent the next 10 minutes calling the Suns, who were drafting No. 9, and the Heat, drafting No. 10, trying to trade Wilcox for either pick so they could take Butler.The Suns had already turned in their pick, high school star Amare Stoudemire, and the Heat weren't passing on Butler.
The Clippers will keep talking to the Cavs, but they also are talking to the Hornets again. According to the Times, they also had a deal in place that would have sent Baron Davis to L.A. for Odom, Chris Wilcox and Melvin Ely, but owner Donald Sterling nixed it late Wednesday night. The relocation of the Hornets from Charlotte to New Orleans was the last straw for Davis. His agent, Jerome Staley, has basically told the Hornets they better trade him or lose him.
There were other draft-day deals gone bad that may resurface again this summer.
The Wizards had a deal in place with the Magic that would've sent Jahidi White and the No. 11 to Orlando for Mike Miller. However, the deal was contingent on Amare Stoudemire being there when the Wizards drafted. When he was drafted by the Magic, they pulled out of the trade. Given that the Magic really addressed none of their needs in the draft, you can bet that they'll continue to shop Miller in an effort to land a starting point guard (GM John Gabriel wants Darrell Armstrong coming off the bench next season) and a big man or two.
The Grizzlies and Heat had worked out a trade Wednesday night that would've sent Stromile Swift and Brevin Knight to Miami in return for the No. 10 pick. However, Miami quickly pulled out of the deal when Pat Riley realized that Caron Butler would fall to him. Expect Memphis GM Jerry West to do whatever it takes to push the lackadaisical Swift out of the picture.
The drafting of Jay Williams by the Bulls could spell the end of the Jamal Crawford experiment in Chicago. The Wizards have been the most active in trying to get Crawford, but the T-Wolves, Sonics, Pistons, Nuggets, and the Magic are all interested. Bulls GM Jerry Krause says he's not interested in trading Crawford, but with the addition of Roger Mason in the second round, the bell tolls for thee, Jamal.
A few other underachieving teams will try to shake things up. The Bucks were dangling Glenn Robinson before the draft in an effort to free up more playing time for Tim Thomas. And the Timberwolves have a serious point guard situation to resolve. With Terrell Brandon recovering from knee surgery and Chauncey Billups testing the free agent waters, the Wolves have shopped Wally Szczerbiak around in search of a top-flight point guard.
Keith Van Horn looked like he had worn out his welcome with the Nets at the end of the season. The Sixers have put a for sale sign around Dikembe Mutombo's neck. Eric Snow is on the block as well. The Pacers are hoping someone will take Austin Croshere off their hands. The Warriors will give away Danny Fortson. The Nuggets are open to offers for James Posey. The Blazers would like to package Dale Davis with Bonzi Wells in a sign-and-trade. The Raptors are leery of giving Keon Clark a big contract, and may be willing to broker a sign-and-trade. And you just can't forget the obligatory Vin Baker and Penny Hardaway rumors that are just part of the NBA's summer fabric.
Right now it's all talk. But given the torrid trade pace that's already established ... we'd better strap in.
Chad Ford writes the daily NBA Insider column for ESPN Insider. To get a free 30 day trial, click here.