Al Harrington and Jamal Crawford trade analysis

It has been reported that the Warriors and Knicks have reached a deal in principle that will send the disgruntled Warriors forward Al Harrington to New York in exchange for guard Jamal Crawford.

This deal could not be any better for Al Harrington. He goes from the up-tempo pickup style offense of Don Nelson to the slightly more structured "Run-N-Gun" offense of Mike D'Antoni. Al Harrington will bring a new level of versatility to the Knicks. It is no secret that the Knicks want to trade Zach Randolph, Stephon Marbury, and Eddy Curry. There is serious interest in Zach Randolph by the Clippers and little to no interest in Marbury and Curry. In the mean time, having Harrington and Randolph up front in a speedy offense is D'Antoni's dream come true. Harrington's deadly three point shot will spread the floor and stretch defenses. Harrington does shoot an abysmal 39.2% from the field, but that number could go a bit higher if he starts to play with more passion than he did with the Warriors. Playing in New York will likely be a motivating factor.

Harrington has had 0 blocks this season which shows his lack of defensive effort, but did have a bit above a steal a game in this young season. Watching Harrington's play and body language this season made it clear that he did not want to be a part of the Warriors anymore, and this trade could not have come any sooner. The Knicks will be an excellent fit for him, and sets the Knicks up for the Lebron sweepstakes in 2010 (more on Lebron in a bit). Harrington has a year on his contract after this season so it could be used as another incentive to attract Lebron by having a jumpshooter at the 4 who will lessen congestion in the lane, and if it doesn't work out, Donnie Walsh can always tell Lebron that Harrington's $9.2 million comes off the books in the summer of 2011 and they can look for another wingman.

The problem for the Knicks in this trade will be how D'Antoni shares minutes in the front court. They have already benched Curry, and have no intentions of playing him. They have Zach Randolph, and young prospects, David Lee and Wilson Chandler. With 4 big men fighting for minutes one of them has to go. To be more competitive in the Lebron sweepstakes they need to get rid of Randolph. The Knicks are not looking at this season to make an impact in the league, they are looking to 2010, and getting rid of Zach Randolph's $14.6 million will go a long way in getting Lebron. Trading Randolph might not be as hard as it sounds. It has been reported while this post was being written that Donnie Walsh is ready to give up Randolph to the Clippers, and is just waiting on confirmation from the Clippers. This news should not be a surprise considering the Clippers have been looking to find a replacement for Elton Brand. Randolph's stock is very high at the moment due to his average of 20.5ppg and 12.5 rebs. If all goes as planned and they strike a deal with the Clippers who are willing to give $14.6 million in expiring salaries in exchange for Zach Randolph, the Knicks will be in the position they want to be in. Things are finally looking up in New York.

For the Warriors, Jamal Crawford is immediate help. When Monta Ellis comes back and can be put alongside Jamal Crawford, the Warriors could have a lineup with Biedrins at the 5, Stephen Jackson at the 4, Maggette at the 3, and Crawford and Ellis in the back court with Morrow, Azubuike, and the surprising DeMarcus Nelson backing them up. In the front, they would have a solid young core of Turiaf, Brandon Wright, and Anthony Randolph coming off the bench. Not exactly a dream team, but neither was the 2006 team that upset the #1 Mavericks. Point being, Don Nelson can get it done with a crew that you least expect. Crawford is a player who can hit big shots and create for himself. Both of those talents are very valuable attributes in the perimeter offense of Don Nelson. Crawford brings 19.4ppg and 4.4 assists to the Warriors, and will have no trouble making the transition from D'Antoni's offense to Nelson's offense due to their similarities.

All in all, this was a great trade for both teams. The Warriors have a team that will be able to compete in the West for that 7th and 8th spot in the playoffs, and the Knicks have a chance to make the playoffs while making dramatic moves to cut salary in order to go after Lebron. No one is talking championship for either of these teams, but in the NBA and professional sports in general, we all know that a team is only a few moves away from being contenders, and that is what we could be seeing right now.


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