Chris Wilcox, a former Terp like yours truly, for only Malik Rose and pocket lint may be the deal of the year. Imagine Chris Duhon getting to choose between Wilcox and David Lee (who we now officially know will be here long term) on a perfectly timed pick and roll? We know Wilcox is a finisher. By the way, kudos to those Gym Rats who had Wilcox pegged here; I thought it would be lateral for the Thunder to take Rose and I'm still shocked they did it.
My first thought after the Larry Hughes trade was that we gave up nothing, he's a capable two guard and he expires before "the summer." I also recall his effort against the Cavs a few years ago against Lebron in the playoffs. He was awesome, and it was the reason he got paid.
Then I got to thinking, "who's a better player: Hughes or Jamal Crawford?" Interesting, but then I thought in this system I'd much rather have Hughes off the ball with pick and rolls than Jamal the dribbling machine. Crawford is a better shooter off the bounce, but I think an off the ball shooter has a better chance to get open looks than a dribbler; ask Raja Bell. Hughes is only a career 30% 3 point shooter, but he's improved this year shooting 40-102. Again, you'd like your shooting guard to shoot like Allan Houston, but it is what it is for now. Plus he's a longer and stronger defender so in the end, I take Hughes. So when you look at it Walsh was able to acquire Hughes, Wilcox and Al Harrington for Crawford and Z-Bo and not affect 2010.
I mean that's pretty incredible.
As far as Nate, again, we've been saying for a good month now that Nate will not wear a Knick uniform next season and the heated talks with the Kings for Kenny Thomas proves that. He wants mega money and he wants to start and the player in his head doesn't exist. He's awesome, but infuriating at the same time. Stephen A. Smith, who did a nice job today as did all the fellows from ESPN, thinks Nate is a 10 million dollar player. In Nate's mind, sure, but not in this economy. When a player gets that in his head it's over; as is, it seems, Nate's future in a Knick uniform past this season. I wouldn't have been happy if we made the deal and didn't get back a pick, which Donnie was really pushing for; but in the end to rid Jared Jeffries (we got size with Wilcox) that deal really needed to be considered.
So here we have a team that is primed for a playoff run, and I understand the skeptics who will question chemistry, but this will be a real test of the D'Antoni system. If Wilcox and Hughes can perform well this team can be a playoff team. But the great leverage that D'Antoni has, as we have seen with his benching of Harrington, is that he doesn't need to motivate these guys because they are on borrowed time. They should play hard to get their next contract whether it be here or elsewhere. The coach doesn't owe them anything and they owe themselves the chance to help MSG consistently rock night in and night out, especially in the spring. Is Hughes a "me" player, a term too loosely throw around these days? I really don't know. Does a "me" player even exist in D'Antoni's system? I mean, Al likes to chuck, but now he has other options in Hughes and Wilcox.
All in all a great day was had for Knick fans, we gave up one rotation player in Thomas and landed two. We unloaded Jerome James and we now have roster spots to add a player like Patrick Ewing Jr. I think that's the move here based on the fact that the Knicks are now 10 deep and any signee won't have much impact, Walsh would do well to hammer home more PR by signing the kid tomorrow. Maybe that's why he kept himself out of the D-League dunk contest??