Any minute now, the New York Knicks are going to trade “power” forward Zach Randolph, probably to the Memphis Grizzlies. They might end up bringing in famous draft flop Darko Milicic, but the real benefit of the deal is ridding themselves of Randolph, who, in one short year, came to represent everything that had gone disastrously wrong during Isiah Thomas’s savage reign over the Garden. And to think that many analysts thought he would be the solution that put the Knicks over the top.
But from the get-go, Randolph was a disastrous fit in New York. For the fun of it, let’s hop in the not-so-way-back machine and take a look at Zach’s season of fun.
June 29, 2007. In a draft-day “splash,” Isiah packaged Steve Francis (another of his mistakes) and promising forward Channing Frye and sent them to Portland for Randolph, Fred Jones, and Dan Dickau. (The Knicks cut Dickau immediately, but apparently no one told Isiah, who, during training camp, thought he was on the roster.) Spike Lee announces he is pleased.
June 30, 2007. The Daily News reprints the details of Randolph’s 2006 arrest for sexual assault: “The woman who filed the complaint said Randolph was disappointed that the [paid] sex show had only simulated sex and refused to pay her. After the show, she said, she had consensual sex with Randolph's friend and then fell asleep or 'passed out.' She claimed she awoke and found Randolph trying to have anal sex with her. She told investigators she awoke and 'slapped' Randolph away twice. Ultimately, she told police that Randolph lifted her onto a table and had sex with her while she shook her head 'no,' the memo says.”
July 1, 2007. Stephon Marbury welcomes Zach Randolph to town by telling MSG that “everyone’s scared now.”
November 12, 2007. The Knicks lose 75–72 to the previously winless Heat. Randolph misses the game because of his grandmother’s death. It was Randolph’s second bereavement leave in five months; the first ended with him in a Portland strip club.
November 30, 2007. The Knicks fall behind 82–41 to the Celtics at the end of the third quarter.
February 21, 2008. Randolph justifies a 40-point loss to the 76ers by claiming he was distracted by the possibility that he might be traded.
February 26, 2008. One possession, involving Randolph randomly dribbling and shooting to nowhere, secures its place as Isiah Thomas’s “Legacy in One Possession.” A broadcaster says, “I don’t even know what he’s doing.”
April 16, 2008. Randolph and the Knicks end the season with a 132–123 loss to the Pacers. Randolph misses thirteen games and finishes second on the team in scoring. Interviewed after the game, Randolph says, “I’m ready to go home.”