Knicks, Clippers get what they need
Cuttino Mobley -- G
Tim Thomas -- F
Zach Randolph -- F
Mardy Collins -- G
WHY THE KNICKS MADE THE DEAL
As with the Al Harrington trade earlier Friday, it was a salary dump with an eye toward 2010. Randolph has two years (and $33 million) left on his contract after this season. Mobley (right) and Thomas both have contracts that expire that summer, meaning the Knicks can now clear additional cap space for a '10 free-agent class that could include LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Meanwhile, New York gets two proven veterans who fit Mike D'Antoni's system fairly well. Thomas is a three-point-shooting big man who can stretch a defense. He played pretty well for D'Antoni during a brief stint in Phoenix in 2005-06, and is familiar with New York from having played there from 2003-05. Mobley is a scoring guard who can also shoot the three. He should help replace Jamal Crawford, who was traded for Harrington. The Knicks are giving up a low-post scorer in Randolph, but they have another decent big man in Eddy Curry, who has been inactive all season because of conditioning issues. Now Curry can get out there and maybe bolster his own trade value.
WHY THE CLIPPERS MADE THE DEAL
They want to make the playoffs. After losing nine of their first 10 games, the Clippers were in danger of falling out of the race by the end of the first month. Now they have new life. Like him or not, Randolph (right) is an All-Star-caliber power forward who has averaged at least 17 points and 10 rebounds in each of the past three seasons. His ability to draw double teams in the post is a dimension that coach Mike Dunleavy relies on heavily in his scheme and which has been missing since power forward Elton Brand departed as a free agent. Randolph will join with point guard Baron Davis to give L.A. a talented one-two inside-outside punch, and his presence allows Marcus Camby to shift back to center while giving the Clippers the flexibility to trade Chris Kaman if they decide to go that route. As for Mobley and Thomas, they were largely expendable with rookie guard Eric Gordon (No. 7 pick in the 2008 draft) and second-year forward Al Thornton ready to assume bigger roles at those positions.