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Kelly Dwyer

Anthony Randolph will be on Minnesota's bench now

Kelly Dwyer
Ball Don't Lie

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Long before Carmelo Anthony(notes) held the NBA hostage, Eddy Curry(notes) was briefly in the very same boat, mixing up metaphors and luring Isiah Thomas into overpaying for him.

After a heart arrhythmia scared the Chicago Bulls out of overpaying for Curry following his not-that-bad 2004-05 season, Isiah and the Knicks pounced on a chance to trade for the young low-post presence. Offering an uninsured contract, Thomas sent Chicago a cast of expiring contracts, New York's 2006 draft pick (which Chicago used to grab Tyrus Thomas(notes)) and the rights to swap out 2007 draft selections (which Chicago used to grab Joakim Noah(notes)). In return, the Bulls signed Curry to a nutty six-year, $56 million deal.

That deal expires this July, and Curry (who has played just 74 minutes over the last three seasons) will make well over $11 million this "season." He's also not a Knick anymore, having been traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday, along with Anthony Randolph(notes) for Corey Brewer(notes).

Brewer was another in a long line of mistakes made by Kevin McHale as GM of the Timberwolves. He chose the former Florida wing ahead of Noah in the 2007 draft, and though Brewer has had his moments defensively, he is not a game-changer in the slightest. Curry won't play a second for the Timberwolves, and it's possible his expiring deal might be moved again before Thursday's trade deadline.

Anthony Randolph? He's a different story.

Counted on to use his startling athletic gifts in Mike D'Antoni's freewheeling offense, Randolph disappointed in his short time as a Knick. He was in D'Antoni's doghouse from the start of training camp and did little behind the scenes to advance his cause as a hopeful rotation player. The lithe forward will turn into another one of Minnesota GM David Kahn's recovery projects, in the mold of Timberwolves starters Darko Milicic(notes) and Michael Beasley(notes).

Randolph has quite a bit of work to do, however. He hasn't played double-figure minutes since the second week of November, and has done well to give credibility to the notion that skinny people can be terribly out of shape. If all goes according to plan, and Randolph cashes in on all that potential? He's a clear Sixth Man of the Year candidate. Unfortunately, I can almost assuredly proclaim that I will never write a column that features Anthony Randolph as a Sixth Man candidate. Players like him, or Eddy Curry, never really figure these things out.

It is a good deal for Minnesota, though, mainly because Randolph even at his worst will contribute more than Brewer could. The team didn't have to give up a first-round pick, either, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. The team just has to cash the $3 million check New York sent its way, and hope that Curry doesn't make any more unsavory headlines in his brief few months as an ostensible Timberwolf.

For the Knicks? They'll need Corey Brewer's defense, especially as the troika of Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups(notes) and Amar'e Stoudemire(notes) ranks as possibly the worst screen-and-roll defendin' triptych in the NBA. And the NBA plays a lot of screen-and-roll offense, by the way.

It is a little strange to see David Khan almost exclusively take on other teams' failed projects, but you can't deny the amount of on-paper talent these players show up with. It takes a great coach to turn that paper into something worthwhile, though. Is Kurt Rambis that coach?

We'll have two months to find out. Lace up those sneakers, Anthony Randolph.

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