Francis deal may be precursor to more Knicks moves
Posted: Thursday February 23, 2006 11:15AM; Updated: Thursday February 23, 2006 6:43PM
While the Knicks' braintrust and Steve Francis were (mostly) all smiles Wednesday, many observers question how happy all will be once Francis takes the floor.
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Steve Francis has heard the skeptics who say he can't get along with Stephon Marbury. He plans to prove them wrong.
That's the word from Jeff Fried, Francis' agent, who says his client was excited all along about Wednesday's trade that sent him from Orlando to New York. Francis was even overheard telling friends in Houston over All-Star Weekend that he was keeping his fingers crossed for a trade to Gotham.
"Steve and Stephon are not going to have any problems. They're going to get along great," Fried said Wednesday night. "They got together today and talked. Stephon and Steve have worked out together in the past. They know each other well. They're going to be terrific teammates."
Fried understands that many around the league question whether the two ball-control point guards can co-exist peacefully. He even acknowledges that only time will tell for certain. But he swears the two stars will do what they can to make it work. Just to make sure they're on the same page, he plans to have Marbury and Francis over for lunch on Saturday in D.C., before the Knicks play the Wizards.
NBA GMs might chuckle at the notion of Francis and Marbury dining together. Will either one pass the rolls? And will they put the tab on the Knicks' expense account?
"It's like [the Knicks] are trying to become the Yankees," said one Eastern Conference GM when asked about New York's adding another $49 million to the payroll over the next three years. He was hardly alone. Several other league personnel types said essentially the same thing.
The Knicks, under president Isiah ("Don't call me George Steinbrenner") Thomas, seem intent on adding big names without regard to chemistry or cost. But perhaps there's a method to Thomas' madness. Maybe the Knicks are stockpiling assets now for a possible run at Kevin Garnett this summer. Far-fetched perhaps, but not impossible.
Or maybe the Knicks are not done dealing yet. Thomas said Wednesday he didn't expect to make any more deals, but many around the league expect him to do something before today's 3 p.m. ET deadline to clear up his crowded backcourt.