Updated: Feb. 6, 2006, 6:39 PM ET

That's one very expensive Rose

The Antonio Davis-Jalen Rose trade was more complex than it looked on the surface. This weekend, our analysts broke down the trade in terms of what it said about the Knicks' turmoil in the front office, the salary cap, and the future trade prospects for both New York and Toronto.

The following are excerpts from ESPN.com's columns and blog entries on the Knicks-Raptors trade:

Chris Broussard, ESPN The Magazine: Does bringing Rose to New York make the Knicks markedly better? Does it assure them of getting into the playoffs (where they would get pummeled by Detroit anyway)? Absolutely not.

So why add another max contract -- Jalen will make $16.9 million next season -- for little, if any, gain on the court? Why not let Antonio Davis' $13.9 million fall off the payroll after this season?

Why keep spending mega-millions when you're still lottery bound with no lottery pick?

•  See Broussard's complete blog entry

John Hollinger, ESPN Insider: Just beneath the surface, one can see ulterior motivations for this deal -- such as the continuation of an ongoing power play between Larry Brown and Isiah Thomas upstairs. Davis was one of only two "Brown guys" on the Knicks' roster -- Qyntel Woods being the other -- so for Thomas to unceremoniously dump him to one of the league's least-desirable locations could be interpreted as a shot across Brown's bow.

•  See Hollinger's complete column

Chris Sheridan, ESPN Insider: With owner James Dolan willing to perpetuate the formula by which the Knicks annually deal off their expiring contracts for players with longer deals, he has already given Isiah Thomas the go-ahead to try to pawn off Penny Hardaway's expiring deal.

There have been talks with Portland for Theo Ratliff and Ruben Patterson, but the Knicks would prefer Darius Miles and would be willing to toss Trevor Ariza into the deal to make it happen.

See Sheridan's complete blog entry

Marc Stein, ESPN.com: The Raptors desperately needed Davis' expiring contract as part of their plan to get way under the salary cap this offseason and find a beefy sidekick who can help protect Chris Bosh … and thus help convince Bosh -- unlike Tracy McGrady and Vince Carter -- to pledge his future to Toronto. That's why Wayne Embry was willing to part with the first-round pick (via Denver) that Rob Babcock clung to.

As for the sidekick search, file away this name: Nene .

Denver's injured power forward/center will be a restricted free agent this summer and a target for any team with salary-cap space, with Chicago and Atlanta already known to be interested. But the Raptors just added themselves to the short list of clubs that might be able to put forth an offer that the Nuggets deem too rich to match or (more likely) forces Denver into a sign-and-trade . . . especially if Embry can follow through on his efforts to move swingman Eric Williams before the Feb. 23 trading deadline.

•  See Stein's complete column

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Dimes Past: February 1 | 2 | 3 | Feb. 4-5

Paint The Rose

Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images
Almost everybody's in the key. Jalen Rose, driving here against Yao Ming, made his debut Sunday with the Knicks, scoring 16 points and dishing 11 assists. But the Rockets won 94-89.

How Diaw Bloomed

When it comes to breakout years, few can match what Phoenix Suns forward Boris Diaw has done this season.

When we last saw the 23-year-old Frenchman, he was mired at the end of the bench for the lowly Atlanta Hawks. After briefly breaking into the starting lineup as a rookie, he quickly fell out of the rotation in his sophomore season and by the end of the year rarely saw action. When he did play, his inability to connect from long range and his reluctance to shoot from any range were a constant source of frustration. He was, arguably, the worst player on the worst team in the league.

That all changed when he arrived in Phoenix as a throw-in to the sign-and-trade deal for Joe Johnson. Suns coach Mike D'Antoni thought the 6-foot-8 Diaw's combination of size and versatility would be an asset in Phoenix's open-court system and figured Diaw might be a diamond in the rough. But even D'Antoni wasn't totally sure.

"I thought he could be effective as a four or five," said D'Antoni. "But I didn't know if he could guard fours or fives because he always played one, two or three [in Atlanta]. ... Then he came in and he could guard fours and fives really well. That just opened his whole game up, because he can drive to the basket, he plays like a point guard at the four position, and we can run offense through him."

See full John Hollinger story Insider

News and Notes

What Can Griz Do To Get Their Groove Back?
What the Griz are not these days would take too much space to list. But the common denominator during a funk in which they've lost nine of the past 12 games is easy to discern. The Griz have underperformed on offense so routinely late in games that they have begun to second-guess everything. Mike Fratello blamed the laboring efforts on individuals hesitating, which has disrupted execution and flow. Pau Gasol pointed to a lack of confidence in the group. Eddie Jones directed his disappointment at sudden selfish play. Bobby Jackson said the tension wouldn't be so thick if guys played more free and loose. -- Memphis Commercial-Appeal

Pietrus' Run As A Starter Might Last Awhile
Mickael Pietrus has started five straight games, scoring 14 or more points in all but one game and providing his usual hustle on defense. Pietrus' play appears to have earned him the starting small-forward spot for the moment, though Warriors coach Mike Montgomery refused to name his starting lineup for tonight's game against Denver. ... After Saturday's game, he said he would prefer to be a starter "like everybody" and wouldn't give up the spot without a fight. He also said the Warriors' success was his primary focus. -- San Francisco Chronicle

Read the entire Intelligence Report on ESPN Insider Insider

Motion: Clippers Rolling
Benoit Benjamin never did. Loy Vaught? Nope. World B. Free? Oppressed. None of those notables who donned a Clippers jersey ever could claim membership on a Sterling team perched 11 games over .500. But a new generation in Clipperland can.

Clippers Now 28-17

'I Couldn't Believe I Was That Wide Open'

AP Photo/Aaron Harris
You were, Sam Cassell. After he hit a clean 3-pointer to send the game into overtime, the Clippers guard got a hand from Elton Brand. LA then beat the Raps, 115-113.

Extreme Behavior

Sunday's Best
Sam Cassell, Clippers guard: SC scored 27 points and dished 13 assists in beating the Raps. In his seven NBA uniform and 13th season, Sam is making 43 percent of his 3-pointers. That puts him on pace for his best long-distance season ever.


Sunday's Worst
Devin Brown, Jazz guard: Missed all nine of his shots in 22 minutes of action, a 96-78 loss to Sacramento. It was his third straight game without a good FG. Look for Brown to regain his touch Monday at home against Chicago.

Quote of the Day

"'Come on Mike James! Get your mind right!"
-- Raptors guard Mike James, upbraiding himself during a 5-for-20 shooting night in an overtime loss to the Clippers.

See how all 42 who played stacked up

-- Andrew Ayres

Spinning 45 Question

Kobe Bryant, the NBA's leading scorer, had 19 of his 35 points in the first quarter in a 106-90 loss to the Hornets on Saturday. Devean George added a season-high 21 points, including five 3-pointers, and Brian Cook scored 13.

After facing double- and triple-teams much of the game, Bryant -- who averaged 43.4 points in January -- was asked if he needed to learn to deal with the matchups better. "Basically, to say yeah would be saying that I need to get 45 points to win a game," he responded. "Do you know what I'm saying? Is that what we need to win ballgames? I think we need to execute. We need to execute our offense. We're not doing a good job of that. Once we do that, we'll be all right."

-- The Associated Press

Elias Says

Allen Iverson was 14-for-14 from the foul line on Saturday. Only two NBA players have had better games from the line this season: Chris Bosh, who was 17-for-17 on Jan. 20, and Dirk Nowitzki, who was 15-for-15 on Dec. 23.

• Elias Sports Bureau | More from Elias Insider

Celtics Stay On Guard

Zach (NYC): Do you see the Pistons moving Carlos Arroyo to say...the Celtics, since he is a young, sparingly used, but veteran PG? Or do you see the Celtics possibly moving their first round picks for a veteran since they do not need any more youth at the end of the bench?

Chris Sheridan: I think the Celtics would like to get a point guard sometime down the road and use Delonte West at two-guard a little more, but I think if they go for a point guard it'll be for someone better than Arroyo. That's why they were willing to send Paul Pierce to Portland last June for a chance to draft Chris Paul. Arroyo is important to the Pistons, who don't want to mess up what they've got going. As for the Celtics, the most likely move I see them making is sending Michael Olowokandi somewhere for the best offer they can get.

See the full Chris Sheridan blog Insider



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