TKB has learned through a league source that the Memphis Grizzlies are demanding a first round pick along with Zach Randolph in exchange for Darko Milicic and Marko Jaric. It is assumed that the pick will be conditional.
Walsh in return is asking for a young player, assuming either Javaris Crittenton, Kyle Lowery or Hakim Warrick or the best expiring contract (Antoine Walker) if he is to surrender a first round pick.
A source close to the situation has told TKB that Walsh is eager dump Randolph’s contract so he can immediately sign David Lee to an extension.
This isn’t the first time a team has held out for a first rounder, SI’s Ian Thomsen reported the Clippers wanted one in return for Z-Bo around the NBA draft and talks quickly stalled.
As we’ve said, this isn’t about deferred payments owed to Randolph, Walsh would pull the trigger on the deal if Walker is involved, but what isn’t clear is how Jaric and a third player would fit onto the Knicks already cluttered roster. This, along with rumors of an Allan Houston comeback, should be clear evidence that Walsh is ready to cut ties with Stephon Marbury, Jerome James and others.
Jaric, who we’ve learned has been in NY and working out with the Knicks all week, is owed 21.2 million over the next three years and can be seen as Walsh’s first contract past his target date of 2010, with Lee to follow. Clearly, Walsh believes he can keep Lee even if he adds Jaric’s salary.
Milicic told a Serbian newspaper he thinks there is a “99% chance” he’ll be a Knick by Friday.
So, in essence, the question becomes do the Grizzlies surrender a young player in exchange for the Knicks adding a first round pick, (which, again, is sure to be later rather than sooner as the Knicks will be forced to surrender a pick should they may the playoffs this year, or automatically next year, as part of said Marbury deal) or allow Walker and his $10 million dollar team option after this year, shimmy his way to the Garden?
For me, the deal that makes the most sense is:
conditional 1st rounder
Crittenton or Lowry