Busy Knicks set for class of 2010

RYAN WOLSTAT, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:28 AM ET

Thanks to a pair of bold moves consummated yesterday, the New York Knicks firmly placed themselves in the lead for the 2010 LeBron James race.

The Knicks shipped their mercurial top player Zach Randolph -- averaging 20.5 points and 12.5 rebounds on the season -- along with guard Mardy Collins, to the Los Angeles Clippers, in exchange for Cuttino Mobley and Tim Thomas.

That followed a deal earlier in the day that saw Knicks president Donnie Walsh peddle combo guard and No. 2 point-producer Jamal Crawford to the Golden State Warriors for forward Al Harrington.

While the Knicks likely take a step back talent-wise with the deals, the moves were made with one thing in mind: Getting James, along with possibly one other superstar free agent, to come to Gotham in 2010.

The Knicks will have saved $27 million US against the cap in 2010 because the contracts of the players they acquired expire a year earlier than Randolph and Crawford's.

New York now will have the means to sign two members of a stacked free-agent class that includes James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Amare Stoudemire, Pau Gasol, Joe Johnson and Tyson Chandler, among others.

LOOKING AHEAD

Walsh explained the moves in a conference call.

"I think that opening up cap space down the road for us is a big plus on our side and I hope our fans understand that that can give us an opportunity to make the team better according to the plan that I've outlined," Walsh said.

Still, Henry Thomas, the agent for Wade and Bosh told SI.com yesterday, that all the speculation about where the stars will land is premature.

"I find it sort of strange,'' Thomas said.

"The reality is it's two years away. I don't know why there's so much talk about it.''


Videos

Photos