Knicks mulled Webber deal
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
By STEVE ADAMEK
Chris Webber, still hampered by the aftermath of microfracture knee surgery at 33, is due more than $42 million over the next two seasons -- a perfect fit for the Knicks' seemingly infinite budget.
The five-time All-Star could also fit the win-or-else mandate president/coach Isiah Thomas faces this season, but initial discussions haven't produced a fit to send Webber to New York.
Still, the 76ers have approached the Knicks (and anyone else willing to listen) about Webber, league sources say, but weren't offered enough to make the kind of deal they've sought to shake up things this summer after several Allen Iverson scenarios fell through.
The package offered by Thomas, who is on vacation this week and could not be reached Tuesday, starts with Quentin Richardson (with his back issues and $33.8 million over four seasons left on his contract) and Maurice Taylor (whose $9.75 million contract expires after this season).
For the necessary salary-cap match, the Knicks would have to send more to Philadelphia to take on the $20 million Webber makes next season. So they'd likely try to include another albatross salary, such as the two years and $13.7 million owed to Philadelphia native Malik Rose or the four years and $24 million still due to Jerome James.
Webber-to-the-Knicks talk, however, is nothing new as he's been on their radar screen since before he re-signed as a free agent with Sacramento five years ago.
Last season, he averaged 20.2 points and 9.9 rebounds in 75 games as the Sixers failed to make the playoffs in his and Iverson's first full season together. Thus, team president Billy King has vowed to change the Sixers' culture.
He couldn't complete deals that would have sent Iverson to Boston, Denver or Atlanta, so now he's looking to move Webber, who turns 34 in March. And although Webber's knee severely limits his mobility, in New York he would join Eddy Curry and Channing Frye in a three-man rotation at power forward and center.
If the Sixers and Knicks can make a match, that is, or King can't find a better offer elsewhere.
ROBINSON'S DEAL OFFICIAL: The Nets officially re-signed soon-to-be 40-year-old big man Clifford Robinson to a $1.5 million deal for this season and a partially guaranteed option for 2007-08. Once former Phoenix guard Eddie House passes his physical later this week, they expect to finalize his one-year $1.5 million deal.
The signing and buyout of big man Mile Ilic, however, likely won't take place until after this month's world championship tournament in which he's playing for Serbia and Montenegro, team officials and Ilic's agent said.