Thursday, June 28, 2007
Trade for Randolph, selection of Chandler cheers up Knicks' fans
NEW YORK -- Knicks fans had a reason to cheer even before
commissioner David Stern announced New York's first-round pick in
the NBA draft Thursday night.
There was a buzz in the crowd after ESPN flashed a proposed
trade that would have the Portland Trail Blazers send Zach Randolph
to New York for Channing Frye and Steve Francis.
The fans, led by Spike Lee, stood and cheered when the proposed
trade was shown. The Knicks confirmed the deal after the draft and
also will receive Dan Dickau and Fred Jones from the Trail Blazers.
Randolph averaged a career-high 23.6 points and 10.1 rebounds
last season and gives New York a strong frontcourt tandem with
center Eddy Curry.
The fans were delighted when New York took DePaul forward Wilson
Chandler with the 23rd pick, hoping that he would be the next solid
late first-round pick by Isiah Thomas. It was a very different
scene from last year when fans were saying, "Fire Isiah!" before
the draft even started.
They booed even louder when the Knicks drafted Renaldo Balkman,
an unknown. But Balkman became a fan favorite with his spirited
play, making him the last of Thomas' late first-round finds.
In 2005, New York took David Lee with the 30th pick.
Chandler played two seasons at DePaul before declaring for the
draft. He averaged 14.6 points and 7.0 rebounds to earn second team
All-Big East Conference honors.
"I'm very excited," Chandler said. "It's a great opportunity.
It's a traditional court, a good basketball squad and a great coach
and a great city."
The Knicks would have had the ninth pick in the draft, but
Chicago had the right to swap to complete the Curry trade from
2005. The Bulls took New York native Joakim Noah with the ninth