Further complicating the mix is the fact that the two so-called throw-ins in the Randolph deal have some real value as pine brothers and complementary players on this Knicks team. Here's Hollinger's take;
Thomas could also buy out Jones and/or Dickau. Both players only have one guaranteed year left on their deals, and dumping them would only involve swallowing around $6 million — chump change by the Knicks' recent standards.I happen to subscribe to the just-in-time theory of management. The summer is long and shit will happen. Unexpected injuries on this squad or someone else's may force a hand.
Alas, Thomas appears to have a liking for both throw-ins from the Randolph deal, and not without reason. Jones was one of his pupils when he coached the Pacers and would be one of the rare Knicks who is as useful on defense as he is on offense. Dickau, meanwhile, is another Knick rarity — a long-range shooter who doesn't need the ball in his hands in order to be effective.
If both stick, then that makes the situation muddier. One supposes they could cut Nichols, the second-round pick, but if the Knicks end up doing so you have to question what Thomas was thinking by not trading the pick. He already knew by that point that he'd have 17 players if he used the selection; any trade would have been better than just flushing a draft pick down the toilet. (If he'd really been thinking, actually, he would have drafted a European player at that spot and let him cool his heels overseas for a year, but expecting that kind of foresight from the Knicks is asking a bit much).
So if the Knicks can't trade their way out of it, and don't wish to cut Rose, Jones, Dickau, or Nichols, then this situation will provide one of the toughest tests of the Thomas administration — facing up to his worst blunders.
Because at that point, Thomas would be all but forced to cut at least one and perhaps both of his worst mistakes — Jerome James and Jared Jeffries.
While waiting for injuries are not a pro-active approach to cutting a roster, waiting is very much a just-in-time management process. Why cut or buy-out players who might return draft picks from a team suddenly in need?
Another option is that Zeke might trade for an unsigned Euro pick that someone can offer. Leave the player over there for a year or two and cash them in when needed.
As I said a week or two ago as well, the Artest trade gambit being played out by Geoff Petrie is not going well. Artest's suspension does nothing for Sacramento's team image and Knicks fans, after watching summer league, are losing their appetite for Artest. Hanging onto an asset whose value is dropping with each and every day is not smart business.
Having many weapons is a far better problem to have than having too few.
For rival general managers, the player who was most disappointing last year for the Knicks, Jared Jeffries is no lemon. This is a kid who will recover with many more good years some where else because there's no room here. My guess is that the GM who trades for Jeffries will not regret the transaction.