San Francisco, Ca.- ESPN reports that the New York Knicks have traded second leading scorer Jamal Crawford to the Golden State Warriors for Al Harrington.
What this means: On the surface this looks like just another in a long line of questionable trades for the Knicks. Crawford is the superior player, evidenced by his stats and his fit in coach Mike D'Antoni's system. He is having a career year, averaging 19.6 ppg, 4.4 apg in four less minutes than last year, and shooting a career high 45.5% from beyond the arc. Crawford has flourished in the newly installed up-and-down system, combing for a good backcourt with Chris Duhon.
Harrington, on the other hand, has seen his career take a step back. For the fourth straight year his scoring average has dropped, now sitting at 12.4. And the 6'9" power forward is averaging only 5.6 rebounds a game. All this while playing six more minutes than last year. His name has been on the trading block for months and the Warriors finally pulled the deal. They wanted to give more time to their young bigs Brandan Wright and Anthony Randolph and this allows them to do it. It also stabilizes their backcourt after the loss of Baron Davis, as Crawford will most likely act ast the primary ballhandler.
For the Knicks, it will be interesting how it affects their rotation. Nate Robinson will most likely slide into the starting line-up and Harrington could come off the bench. But his place on the team will take away minutes from David Lee and the much improved Wilson Chandler. And due to the lack of depth at guard, the Knicks now only have one shooting guard left in Robinson, so expect to see more Quentin Richardson, Anthony Roberson and maybe even Mardy Collins.
But in the long term this deal is a steal. Crawford's contract ends after the 2010-11 season which doesn't fit in with GM Donnie Walsh's plans to clear cap space for the 2010 Summer of LeBron, Wade and Bosh. Harrington helps them here as his $10 million comes off the cap right on time.
If the Knicks are willing to give up Crawford for so little, expect to see Zach Randolph on his way out of town soon as well, as his mammoth contract is on the books till 2011