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Holdup in Knicks-Clippers deal frustrates Randolph, Dunleavy

By Dave McMenamin, NBA.com
Posted Nov 25 2008 1:08AM

LOS ANGELES -- Zach Randolph anticipated making his debut with the third different team of his eight-year career on Monday but found himself complaining to his girlfriend all afternoon instead of going through his normal pregame ritual of a nap followed by a big bowl of pasta.

"It was real difficult," Randolph told a group of reporters while wearing street clothes in the Clippers locker room at STAPLES Center about an hour before L.A.'s game against New Orleans. "I was up getting ready and doing all of the preparation for the game and you find out you can't play and it just sucks the life out of you."

As of right now, Randolph, with his 20.5 points and 12.5 rebounds per game averages this season, isn't a Knick and he isn't a Clipper. He's in limbo until the physicals for Tim Thomas and Cuttino Mobley (who New York swapped Randolph and Mardy Collins for on Friday) are passed.

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"They made the deadline for the deal to be [Tuesday] but we kind of agreed amongst ourselves to try to get it done by today," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. "We got our end of it done today, but unfortunately the Knicks had something not come back for them and couldn't OK it until it does."

Dunleavy said he heard from the Knicks on Monday before his team's 10 a.m. shootaround that there was going to be a delay in the deal that would prevent Randolph and Collins from participating and he should expect a call back. When Dunleavy was reached again by New York, he was told that he would have to wait until Tuesday for further word.

"I have no idea [what the problem is]," Dunleavy said. "All I know is we sent two guys there that have been playing for us with no issues. I don't know what the issue is, but I don't think it should be something that's going to hold the deal up."

Thomas played in 10 of the Clippers' 11 games, missing one contest because of a left ankle injury while Mobley played and started in all 11, averaging 33.2 minutes per game.

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Dunleavy speculated that Thomas' sprained ankle or some other "non-issue" like information regarding blood work or other paper work not arriving in the Knicks' hands until Monday because of the nature of it being a "weekend deal" was the reason for the waiting game.

Randolph appeared upbeat despite the unexpected turn of events.

"I can help this team out a lot," Randolph, who spent part of last summer training in Los Angeles at UCLA and Loyola Marymount, said. "They have a lot of great talent. I think once the chemistry gets together, things are going to start going."

The 6-foot-9, 260-pound forward out of Michigan State said that he didn't think the Clippers' 2-11 record to start the season meant that their playoff hopes were dashed. He also got wide eyed when considering sharing frontcourt duties with 7-footer Chris Kaman at center and a 6-foot-11 former Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Camby at small forward at times.

"That's a big lineup," Randolph said. "Camby can guard people out there on the perimeter. He's long and blocks shots. So is Kaman, Kaman is a good player. He's a good scorer and a good rebounder."

Randolph even shrugged off filling the big shoes left when Elton Brand, another premiere power forward, bolted for Philadelphia via free agency this summer.

"Elton Brand isn't better than me anyway," Randolph said.

Still, the question lingered: What if the holdup turns out to be a broken deal?

"I don't even want to think about that," Randolph said. "I think tomorrow everything will be straight.

"If I can't play Wednesday, you might not see me," Randolph added with a laugh, clearly thinking that scenario to be highly unlikely.

He might not have been so jovial if he heard the report by TNT's David Aldridge that the Knicks were concerned with Mobley's bill of health.

"It's a little frustrating, but as long as it gets done, it will be fine," Dunleavy said.

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