Updated: Feb. 23, 2006, 10:57 AM ET

No Magic cure for Knicks

Editor's Note: The following are some reactions to the trade that sent Steve Francis to the New York Knicks, who acquired the three-time All-Star from the Orlando Magic on Wednesday for Penny Hardaway and Trevor Ariza.

As it stands now, Isiah Thomas has got to be thinking he's recreating the old Detroit backcourt of himself and Joe Dumars.

It will be interesting to see how Marbury and Francis coexist side by side.

Francis has had problems with every coach he's had, except Rudy Tomjanovich. Of course, that's because Rudy T. let Francis do what he wanted in Houston.

Larry Brown is hard on point guards. And you add players like Jamal Crawford and Jalen Rose into the mix -- these aren't really Larry Brown type of players. A coach wants players he can coach.

This move is tough to figure out, unless Isiah gets another deal done.

To me, this move by the Magic signals that this is officially Dwight Howard's team. Even though they'll take lumps now, they're building with pieces. With Jameer Nelson, Carlos Arroyo and Darko Milicic, this team could be setting up to be really good . . . and they still have the rights to Fran Vazquez.

The Magic got a young player who can play defense in Trevor Ariza. And they also got the expiring contract of Penny Hardaway. They certainly didn't get him to play. You won't see him in a Magic uniform after the part he played in getting Brian Hill fired in the first place.

They've got pieces in place and salary cap room. Florida has no state income tax. Otis Smith did a great job without taking contracts back.

As for the Knicks, trading expiring contracts for even bigger contracts at this point?


ESPN Analyst Dee Brown played 12 NBA seasons, finishing his career with the Magic in 2002.


In the best-case scenario of this deal, the Knicks become a playoff team.

But at what price?

Even if it works, it won't work. Because if you have a $130 million payroll, anything less than competing for a championship is not worth it. The Knicks won't be doing that. If you're going to be bad, be cheap, which is what I thought the Knicks should do as they rebuilt. They didn't.

Now we have this deal. Francis and Marbury are talented, but I don't think either can play without the ball.

What the Knicks have done is taken a course of adding pieces and adding salary, not adding wins. When you look at a roster -- you want winners and leaders when you're building it. All the money in the world won't bring you a title. You've got to get the right player who's going to be the best fit.

San Antonio and Detroit don't necessarily possess the best talent. And Detroit didn't draft Carmelo Anthony when it had the chance. They would rather have stuck with a guy who is the right fit, like Tayshaun Prince.

As for the Magic, they are positioning themselves where they'll have a chance to improve rapidly. The Magic have done the first part, creating salary cap room.

Now the question is, will they be able to lure the free agent that fits them best? The Bulls put themselves under the cap after the MJ reign, but never reaped the benefits.

You've got to sell the organization, team and philosophy. That's the challenge for the Magic now.

ESPN Analyst Greg Anthony played for the Knicks from 1991-95.


Steve Francis for Penny Hardaway and Trevor Ariza?

Knicks fans, I finally get Isiah Thomas.

But if he keeps making moves like this, I won't have to get him much longer.

There's an old adage in the NBA that whomever gets the best player in any given deal is usually the winner of the deal.

Thomas is trying single-handedly to prove that adage is bogus.

Isiah's goal in every trade appears to be to come out of the trade with the best player -- contracts and chemistry be damned.

Look back over his deals for Stephon Marbury, Jamal Crawford, Eddy Curry, Tim Thomas, Jalen Rose and now Steve Francis. In every instance, Isiah got the best player in the trade (not including future draft picks).

He must believe something like this: "If I have the most talent, the deepest bench, the highest-paid coach, and the most media coverage, the wins will come."

See the full Chad Ford column Insider


With Hardaway's contract expiring after this year and Ariza expected to re-sign cheaply as a restricted free agent, the Magic would be $15 million to $20 million under the salary cap (depending on that year's cap number) when Grant Hill's contract expires after next season.

The Magic's timing is impeccable when one considers the names potentially available in 2007 -- forget about LeBron James and the other stars from the class of '03, since they'll sign extensions, but there's also Paul Pierce, Vince Carter, Dirk Nowitzki, Gerald Wallace, Chauncey Billups, Mike Bibby, Rashard Lewis, Antawn Jamison and Jamaal Magloire.

That's the same summer that the Magic will likely extend the deals of Dwight Howard and Nelson, and 2007 also probably represents Orlando's last opportunity to play the market for the next several years.

See the full John Hollinger column Insider

• Talk back to The Daily Dime gang

Dimes Past: February 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 20 | 21 | 22

Welcome To New York

Tony Dejak/AP Photo
With Jamal Crawford on his right, Steve Francis gets an eyeful of the not-so-nice performance by his new team Wednesday. The Knicks fell to the Heat, 103-83.

Elias Says

Tyson Chandler grabbed 12 rebounds for Chicago on Wednesday. It was the 12th straight game in which Chandler had at least 10 rebounds, matching the longest such streak for any NBA player this season. Marcus Camby and Kevin Garnett had 12-game streaks earlier in the season. Chandler's streak of consecutive regular-season games with double-digit rebounds is the longest for a Bulls player since Dennis Rodman had a 15-game streak in 1997-98.

• Elias Sports Bureau | More from Elias Insider

NBA Intelligence Report

Sixers Can't Trade Iverson
LeBron James was reclining in the visitor's locker room here before Wednesday's game, and someone mentioned that a popular topic for discussion lately was whether the Sixers should trade Allen Iverson. James made a face. "There's no way you can be a better team without Allen Iverson," James said. That's true, and that is the Sixers' dilemma. The only way they can truly get started toward being an elite-level team is to blow this nonsense up and start over. That starts with trading Iverson, their best player. -- Cherry Hill Courier-Post

Read the entire Intelligence Report on Insider Insider

Motion: Scoring Sixers
Andre Iguodala didn't win the dunk contest. But his 24 points helped the Sixers slam the Cavs.

Winning With AIs

Face Plant

Bill Kostroun /AP Photo
On a night the Nets honored Julius Erving with throwback uniforms, a Doc-like high riser, Vince Carter, would like to remind Dwight Howard that his face is not the ball.

Extreme Behavior

Wednesday's Best
Shawn Marion, Suns forward: In his first game after the All-Star break, the Matrix reloaded and hammered the C's, scoring a career-high 44 points. He canned 67 percent of his FGs, and hauled in 15 boards. Suns win, 103-94.


Wednesday's Worst
Jackson Vroman's injury:
David West was out for personal reasons, so one of Paul Shirley's fellow Iowa State alumni finally got the start for the Hornets. Then Vroman broke his right wrist as he fell to the floor following a two-handed dunk in the second quarter. Utah beats NOK, 82-76.


Quote of the Day
" They've given us trouble, no doubt about it. This is the team that's given us the most trouble thus far."
-- LeBron James, after his Cavs lost to the Sixers, 116-107. It was the Sixers 22nd win over Cleveland over the last 26 games.

-- Andrew Ayres

See how all 167 who played stacked up

Free Arvydas!

Arvydas Macijauskas, Hornets: While many of the other guys on this list are players I think could play if they got on the right team, in the case of Macijauskas I'm pretty much convinced. His numbers from Europe and other international competitions are simply too good to think he wouldn't average at least 15 points a game, and do it efficiently, if he ever saw the court. Unfortunately, Byron Scott never took a shine to him in training camp and the Hornets have about 43 wing players on their roster, so Macijauskas has spent all season at the end of the bench.

But the Lithuanian veteran is one of the best shooters in the world, which makes him a hard commodity to pass up. If I were running the Nuggets, I would be spamming Hornets GM Jeff Bower with phone calls, pages, e-mails, text messages, telegrams, Candygrams and those airplanes that write messages in the sky until he finally agreed to trade Macijauskas to me.

John Hollinger's complete column

That'll Fix 'Em. Maybe

The field I teach in is conflict resolution, so, as you may guess, I get a lot readers who write in asking me if I could solve all the Knicks' problems.

My reply? Middle East peace might be possible . . . making the Knicks good, not so easy.

As I wrote in my blog, Isiah's problem is that he's intent on always getting the best individual talent in the deal, no matter what it costs. He showed this again in his acquisition of Steve Francis.

One problem with this approach is that the Knicks need role players to fit around their so-called stars.

If the Knicks are going to win, they're going to have get rid of some of the egos and actually make a trade or two where the goal is chemistry and role, not scoring.

Given that Isiah just dealt away his best trading chip, Penny Hardaway, it won't be easy to fix the team overnight.

But, for what it's worth, here's what I'd do. It's not going to win the Knicks a championship, but it could make them respectable.

Step 1:

Turn around and trade either Francis or Stephon Marbury. (Francis can be re-traded immediately as long as he's traded by himself.) I think Marbury's a better player, but perhaps Larry Brown's had enough of him and I'm sure Marbury's had enough of Larry.

See the full Chad Ford column Insider

Party Crashers

Which team is most likely to keep the Pistons and Spurs from an NBA Finals rematch? (20,673 votes)

40.6% Dallas Mavericks
34.4% Miami Heat
18.5% Phoenix Suns
6.3% Cleveland Cavaliers

Which team will win the Western Conference? (8,622 votes)
48.1% San Antonio Spurs
26.9% Dallas Mavericks
17.8% Phoenix Suns
6.9% Other

Which team will win the Eastern Conference? (8,031 votes)
74.1% Detroit Pistons
12.2% Miami Heat
5.7% Other
5.5% Cleveland Cavaliers
2.5% Milwaukee Bucks

See the full Pulse



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