Thomas thinks Randolph will leave his troubles in Portland Print
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Friday, 29 June 2007 07:25
NBA Headline News

 NEW YORK (AP) -Zach Randolph will be great alongside Eddy Curry and will be just fine in New York.
That's what Knicks coach Isiah Thomas thinks of his new acquisition, who found plenty of trouble in Portland and is coming to New York to redeem himself and a team that hasn't made the playoffs since 2004.
``I believe in him as a player. He's made some mistakes as a young man, I think we can get him on the right path here and I think he'll be fine,'' Thomas said Friday. ``He'll definitely be under the microscope, we all are here. That's just New York. I don't think that the issues that he's run into in Portland ... we'll try to avoid those issues here.''
Thomas was speaking on a conference call, his first remarks since acquiring Randolph late Thursday night for Steve Francis and Channing Frye. The Knicks also landed guards Fred Jones and Dan Dickau in the deal.
NBA rules prevent team officials from commenting on trades until they are completed, so Thomas never was able to address the move, or the first-round selection of Wilson Chandler, on draft night.
The 6-foot-9 Randolph averaged a career-best 23.6 points and 10.1 rebounds last season. But once the Trail Blazers won the No. 1 pick and the chance to draft Greg Oden, Randolph became expendable.
Thomas focused on Randolph's future prospects in New York, not his past failures in Portland.
The 25-year-old Randolph's past troubles have included an arrest for driving under the influence of intoxicants after a police officer said he smelled marijuana in Randolph's car; a guilty plea to a charge of underage drinking in his Indiana hometown, and a practice fight in which he broke former teammate Ruben Patterson's eye socket.
But Thomas defended the player - and the city.
``We'll address those issues if they arise,'' Thomas said. ``I look at him, when he comes here it's a clean slate.
``This is not the place where people come to and just automatically get in trouble. Our city should be a little more respected than that. I think Zach will be fine here. I'm happy with him as a player and a person.''
The trade moves the Knicks even further away from the perimeter-oriented team many thought they would be at the beginning of last season with Francis, Stephon Marbury and Jamal Crawford. But Curry became their biggest weapon, averaging a career-best 19.5 points.
With Randolph joining him in the frontcourt, the Knicks have two big bodies in the post.
``We're a power team. We win games by pounding it inside, going to the foul line and rebounding the basketball,'' Thomas said. ``There's no mistake about the type of team we're trying to build. We're a power athletic team. It's safe to say that the ball will be in one of their hands most every time downcourt.''
Chandler, taken out of DePaul with the No. 23 pick, was lesser known than many first-round selections. He didn't work out for many teams - Thomas wouldn't even say if he did for New York - but Thomas said the Knicks are well-versed on the players from his hometown.
``It's safe to say that we had very good knowledge of the player that we were drafting,'' Thomas said. ``We were plugged into him for a long time. He was a guy that we targeted and we wanted.''
Thomas wouldn't rule out another deal at some point for the Knicks, who haven't won a playoff game since he became president in 2003.
``We definitely want to continue to get better,'' Thomas said. ``My goal is to put together a championship team and to coach in a championship game.''
 

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