Knicks To Sign Russian Giant, Explore Trade Possibilities For Wilson Chandler

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Knicks To Sign Russian Giant, Explore Trade Possibilities For Wilson Chandler
While the rest of the country is still in a frenzy over a certain free agent’s “decision,” the New York Knicks has moved on and has since looked elsewhere to complement their prized free agent acquisition Amare Stoudemire.
Instead of looking into the pool of free agents in the NBA, the Knicks did a 360 and looked overseas, thus landing a deal with Russian free agent center Timofey Mozgov.  The expected deal with the Russian big man was reported to be worth $9 million in three years.
The deal was kept under wraps, much to the dismay of several NBA teams who weren’t aware that Mozgov was eligible to play in the league.  With the neighboring New Jersey Nets being bought by Russian billionaire Mikhail D. Prokhorov, it was unavoidable that a connection between the two Russians will be made by rumormongers.  Mozgov’s agent Bouna Ndiaye, however, was quick to dispel the rumors.
“No, I didn’t talk to [Prokhorov],” Ndiaye said.  “I really focused on the Knicks.  And I did not focus on the Nets because the Nets would take longer to rebuild.  I liked Mike D’Antoni’s system better than the Nets.”
Mozgov played limited minutes with his Russian team B.C. Khimki last season, but showed his potential during last summer’s European championship, averaging 11 points and 4.6 rebounds per game.  To court Mozgov, the Knicks sent their executive Glen Grunwald overseas, which eventually led to Mozgov taking a flight to New York to work out with the Knicks.  
The Knicks recruited Mozgov in a stealthy manner, which Ndiaye explained was by design.  “I did not want to go promoting [Mozgov] to NBA teams because I know things would go crazy,” he said.  “To me, he is the No. 1 free agent outside the United States.  I did not want to have all these teams calling me and going crazy, and I wanted him to play under Coach D’Antoni.  The Knicks are trying to make a turnaround, and I think he would fit in perfectly with the new New York Knicks.”
And with the recent dealing with the Golden State Warriors, the “new” New York Knicks does look promising.  After landing Amare Stoudemire, the Knicks also acquired Kelenna Azubuike, Anthony Randolph, Ronny Turiaf and a 2012 second round draft pick through a sign-and-trade deal that sent New York’s All Star forward David Lee to the Bay.  Last season, Lee was part of an elite group by averaging at least 20 points and 10 rebounds per game (joining Chris Bosh and Zach Randolph).  But Lee became expendable when Stoudemire joined the Knicks.
Aside from Lee, it seems that the Knicks are also preparing to part ways with their forward Wilson Chandler, according to a source that is within the Knicks’ inner circle.  Chandler has a contract that the Knicks will presumably move to be enough under the 2011 salary cap for a maximum contract.  The Knicks could package Chandler with center Eddy Curry’s expiring contract to be in the running to acquire an outside-shooting big man.
With the recent addition of Azubuike, Randolph and Turiaf, Chandler’s role in the Knicks became questionable.  The Knicks’ roster is seemingly lacking in size, which makes the Mozgoz acquisition all the more necessary.  The 7-foot-1 center can take away some of the rebounding and defending burden from Stoudemire and allow the All Star forward to focus on scoring.   
The Knicks, however, are still waiting for clearance papers from FIBA and Khimik before Mozgov could be released.  The Knicks must also pay Khimik $500,000 for Mozgov’s release. If these  thing are settled, the Knicks – with a new big man – really look promising this coming season.



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