The details, according to Ramona Shelburne, are more or less as we suspected. Cuttino Mobley and Tim Thomas to the Knicks in exchange for Zach Randolph and Mardy Collins.
When you begin the season 1-9 and are scoring 90 points a game, it's not unusual to make a move. It's what most franchises would do, and frankly, there's a part of me that's very happy that the Clippers were unwilling to accept their slow start. You don't want to panic, but as a long time Citizen of Clips Nation, panic is preferable to their usual ineffectual complacency.
Having said that, I think that the trade value would only have increased for Mobley and Thomas as 2010 got closer. And I'm just not sold that the team got maximum value in this deal. I was pretty convinced that the Knicks were going to have to package the guy with a pick or an asset like David Lee to get rid of him. They said over the summer that they thought they could raise his value by showcasing him in D'Antoni's offense. If that was their plan, it worked perfectly, with the Clippers playing the part of 'yokel rube.'
Zach Randolph is a statistical monster. But he's never been a winner. Of course, Elton Brand's never been a winner either. EB managed to miss the playoffs every year but one, but he was a nice guy, volunteering in the community and making movies in the off season. Z-Bo spent most of his time volunteering in strip clubs.
Here's what's really interesting: the Clippers now have four players on their roster that have, at one point or another, put up all star worthy numbers. In addition to those four, they have second year player Al Thornton and rookie Eric Gordon who both appear to have star potential. There's no lack of talent on the roster.
Obviously we were concerned about chemistry before. There are two ways to look at this trade in that context. Maybe it makes the chemistry experiment all the more likely to blow up in the test tube. Or maybe the situation was already so volatile, that it doesn't much matter that were tossing in another radioactive element. Only time will tell on that one.
Mardy Collins? They guy who laid out JR Smith setting off the Knicks-Nuggets brawl? Really? Why is he in this deal?
Last thought: bearing in mind, as Citizen John R has always pointed out, that mega super stars (like LeBron James or Dwyane Wade or Chris Bosh or Amare Stoudemire) are unlikely to sign with the Clippers - partly because of their reputation, deserved or not, partly because they are unlikely to look much like a title contender as soon as 2010 - maybe this isn't such a bad idea, even from a forward looking standpoint. Before, you had Thomas, Mobley, Camby, Ricky all expiring in 2010 - you get a ton of cap space, but can you use it? Now, you still have Camby and Ricky (combined $13M in salary) expiring in 2010, and Z-Bo ($17M... ouch, that hurt just typing it) expiring the next year. Basically, you've got major trade chips for a year longer.