The Pulse: SportsNation at the Deadline

Updated: February 24, 2006, 5:31 PM ET
Thursday, Feb. 23

Welcome to The Pulse, the place to find out what the sports world is thinking. Every day on ESPN.com, SportsNation registers its opinion on a wide range of topics by casting votes and chatting with experts in The Show. We collect the daily highlights and put them in The Pulse.

Story of the Day: NBA Trade Deadline
 Steve Francis
By getting Steve Francis, Isiah Thomas landed the biggest name in a deadline deal.
You could say Isiah Thomas can't see the forest for the trees in the Big Apple, but with the size of the players he keeps stockpiling in the backcourt, there's really no excuse for not taking the panoramic approach.

Thursday's trade deadline in the NBA passed without any last-minute blockbusters (which may explain why 64 percent of voters think the MLB deadline is more interesting), leaving SportsNation plenty of time to ponder Isiah's big move from Wednesday. In exchange for Trevor Ariza and Penny Hardaway, the Knicks added Steve Francis to a backcourt that includes Stephon Marbury, Jamal Crawford, Nate Robinson and Jalen Rose.

A majority of voters actually give Thomas the nod on the swap of bodies with the Magic, but 75 percent say Francis can't coexist with Marbury and Crawford and 64 percent blame Thomas more than Larry Brown of the players for the current beleaguered state of the Knicks.

And in case the preceding numbers weren't clear enough, 67 percent of voters rate this stint in New York as Thomas' biggest professional failure (it's not a short list) and 72 percent think a "good" GM could have built a contender after taking over for Scott Layden.

ESPN.com Trade Machine
ESPN.com's Trade Machine gives you a chance to take control of every NBA team with the real constraints offered by the salary cap and complex NBA contracts. So which players did SportsNation have on the move before the deadline? Check out the most popular trade subjects:
1. Kevin Garnett (56,741 trades)
2. Jamal Crawford (17,990)
3. Lamar Odom (16,378)
4. Kenyon Martin (14,900)
5. Allen Iverson (14,402)
6. Steve Francis (14,344)
7. Paul Pierce (14,284)
8. Stephon Marbury (12,420)
9. Quentin Richardson (12,275)
10. Anfernee Hardaway (11,379)

Chris (Phoenix): There was a segment on a Phoenix news station last night about a deal based on Kevin Garnett to the Suns for Shawn Marion. Do you know if there is any truth to this rumor?

Chad Ford: Interesting. Haven't heard anything like that, but the combo of Garnett and Amare would be devastating. And Marion might be one guy I'd be willing to pull the trigger for in a KG trade, especially if the Suns threw in one of those draft picks they're getting from Atlanta in the Joe Johnson deal.
Check Ford's full transcript

Which league has the most interesting trade deadline? (23,777 votes)
63.8% MLB
24.7% NBA
5.7% NHL
5.5% NFL

Which team got the better of the Knicks-Magic deal? (10,949 votes)
55.1% New York (Steve Francis)
44.9% Orlando (Penny Hardaway, Trevor Ariza)

Who is more to blame for the Knicks' struggles? (10,949 votes)
65.7% Isiah Thomas
24.8% Knicks players
9.5% Larry Brown

Who will be the first to leave New York? (70,516 votes)
32.7% Isiah Thomas
21.2% Jamal Crawford
20.7% Stephon Marbury
18.7% Larry Brown
6.3% Steve Francis

What do you expect from the combination of Steve Francis, Jamal Crawford and Stephon Marbury in the backcourt? (10,949 votes)
75.6% It won't work.
17.8% It will take time, but eventually work
6.6% Instant chemistry

How much longer will Brown coach the Knicks? (10,949 votes)
44.7% One more season
25.1% Two more seasons
18.2% He'll quit during or after this season
11.9% Three or more seasons

  • Click here to vote on the state of the Knicks


    Voice of the Fan: Francis to New York
    SportsNation's Deals
    So if great minds think alike, what were the most popular trades created via ESPN.com's Trade Machine? Excluding people testing out the numbers from actual deals, here are the five most popular:

    1. Kevin Garnett for Allen Iverson

    2. Garnett for Lamar Odom and Devean George

    3. Garnett for Odom and Kwame Brown

    4. Garnett for Stephon Marbury

    5. Garnett for Paul Pierce

    It finally happened. I'm 30 years old, and I've completely forgotten about Isiah Thomas the player. All I can remember now is Isiah Thomas the brutal GM, Isiah Thomas the really bad coach, and Isiah Thomas the guy who ran the CBA into the ground.
    Rob (New York)

    Steve Francis is Stephon Marbury with slightly more speed. That's not what the Knicks need!
    Chris (Honolulu)

    There won't be enough basketballs on the court for both Franchise and Marbury. That's one disgruntled backcourt.
    Collin (Framingham, Mass.)

    Steve Francis is at least a starter. And besides, the Knicks can't really get any worse. Or can they?
    Brian (Newburyport, Mass.)

    Jamal Crawford is terrible, so who cares? Francis is ok, and the Knicks are going nowhere anyway. So long as he doesn't trade the kids, it really makes no difference.
    Biscuit (New York)

    I'm still in amazement. How can Isiah Thomas have a job? He should be a scout because he drafts well, but Isiah shouldn't be allowed within 50 yards of the GM office. Someone get the restraining order.
    Jon (Malvern)

    I think Isiah makes Jordan's stint as GM look like Jordan was Jerry West or something. It's a terrible trade that makes no sense.
    Charles (Pittsburgh)

  • Click here for transcript of Dan Shanoff's Morning Quickie


    SportsNation's Show
    Off the Block
    Rumors swirl like dust in a tornado right before the trade deadline, but some players know they aren't going anywhere. Check out SportsNation's top five picks for midseason MVP.
    1. Steve Nash
    2. LeBron James
    3. Dirk Nowitzki
    4. Kobe Bryant
    5. Chauncey Billups
  • Click here to rank them
  • Chris (Phoenix): There was a segment on a Phoenix news station last night about a deal based on Kevin Garnett to the Suns for Shawn Marion. Do you know if there is any truth to this rumor?

    Chad Ford: Interesting. Haven't heard anything like that, but the combo of Garnett and Amare would be devastating. And Marion might be one guy I'd be willing to pull the trigger for in a KG trade, especially if the Suns threw in one of those draft picks they're getting from Atlanta in the Joe Johnson deal.

    Jonathan (Richmond, Ind.): Why trade for Darko Milicic and not play him? I know its only been two games, but a DNP and, what was it, three minutes? I first thought maybe they wanted to work him in and such, but Carlos Arroyo is getting burn already. What's going on?

    Chad Ford: I don't get it either. They gave up a lottery pick for him and they have roughly a season and a half to see if he can play. This is the problem with some NBA coaches. They can't see anything but the present. Brian Hill's job security would be so much higher if he finds away to develop Darko into a legit player. Instead, even though the chances of the Magic making the playoffs this year are slim to none, he plays all veterans trying to eke out wins against the Cavs and Nets. The team loses both games, Darko doesn't play. What have they gained? I know the GMs in Orlando aren't happy. It's tough to tell a coach what to do, but I have a feeling that talk is coming.

  • Click here for Ford's chat transcript


    Starless Night
    Francis was the biggest name on the move, but does that just mean a more exciting offseason? Kevin Garnett, Allen Iverson and Paul Pierce were all mentioned in rumors, and 51% of voters think Pierce is most likely to move this summer, followed by KG at 35% and AI at 14%.

    Marc Stein: If the Celts do get to the point that they trade Pierce, it happens in the offseason. But they don't want to move him. He doesn't want to leave. The new owners love him.
    Check Stein's full transcript

    Dee (Cincinnati): What in the world were the Knicks thinking in trading for Steve Francis?

    Dee Brown: I think Isiah is thinking about putting a backcourt together like him and Joe Dumars. But Marbury and Francis are the same player, they both like to dominate the ball. Someone has to sacrifice. Who's going to be the sidekick: Marbury or Francis? Acquiring the most talent doesn't make the best team.

    Jae (Orlando): Show me the light at the end of the tunnel! As an Orlando Magic fan, what do I have to look forward to?

    Dee Brown: I think the co-GMs have done a good job of building for the future. They're going through a rebuilding process. They have two studs in Howard and Darko. They have a lot of money coming up in the next couple of years. There is a light ,and better yet, there is a plan. Now they're giving the team to Dwight Howard. When you have a plan and money, you're going in the right direction.

  • Click here for Brown's chat transcript



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