A product of St. Patrick’s in Elizabeth, N.J., Harrington has played in just five games this season. He was grounded by coach Don Nelson soon after stating publicly he wanted to be traded.
They failed to hit it off almost immediately after the Pacers sent him to Golden State along with Stephen Jackson in a multi-player trade (Mike Dunleavy and Troy Murphy went to Indiana) on Jan. 16, 2007. Once their conflict became news (Harrington felt Nelson cramped his style) Al got sent to a time out chair – shortly after he complained of back problems and underwent a MRI.
At that point Walsh intensified his effort to acquire the devalued forward, who asked to be traded in June. The Knicks reached out to executive VP of basketball operations Chris Mullin on several occasions, but were rebuffed for lack of equal compensation. The open conflict made it much easier to make a deal.
Posting & Toasting‘s Seth mulled over a mooted Harrington for David Lee swap and concluded, “If we’re shopping why not snatch someone who’s tall and can block a shot, and may very well eat less payroll than Harrington? Why not Chong Williams? Why not Treebeard, dammit? This rumor stinks like Isiah Thomas’ dirty laundry, and I hope it’s nothing more than passing fancy on the part of the media. The Knicks have needs, and Al Harrington most certainly fits zero of these needs. Am I missing the point?” Not quite, though full credit to Walsh for giving up far less than Lee, who oughta yield much greater dividends whether he’s traded or not.
(UPDATE :Looks as though Vecsey was incorrect, as Jamal Crawford is being shipped to Oakland rather than Rose. Newsday’s Allan Hahn claimed New York would also receive Cutino Mobley and Tim Thomas’ expiring contracts , with Zach Randolph going the Clippers. Quite a seachange for the Knicks, essentially giving up on the 2008-09 season while creating more cap room for 2010.)