Washington Wizards point guard Rod Strickland yesterday confirmed that he told the New York Post that he thought it would be good to have an opportunity to play for the New York Knicks. However, despite this being a "frustrating" season, he said he is not trying to force a trade or disrupt the Wizards.
"They asked me if I would like to play in New York and I said, 'Yeah,' " said Strickland, a New York native who played with the Knicks in 1988 and 1989. "They asked me a question and I answered."
Strickland has declined to answer questions regarding his desire to remain with the Wizards or if his relationship with Coach Gar Heard is strained. Strickland and Heard have clashed on at least two occasions about Strickland's inability to practice for various reasons.
He was fined and did not travel to Cleveland for a preseason game after an unexcused absence from practice. Heard didn't start Strickland in a Nov. 20 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers because he missed two practices in three days because of illness and a sore back.
"This season's been frustrating," said Strickland, who is averaging 10 points, 7.1 assists and 3.0 turnovers a game. "Obviously I'm not playing well. I'd love to play better."
League sources have said Washington is not shopping Strickland. Trading him would be difficult because salary-cap rules dictate that any team acquiring Strickland would have to have enough room under the salary cap to absorb a portion of his $10 million annual salary.
Only the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Clippers are under the salary cap. Besides the salary-cap implications, league sources also said that there are very few teams interested in acquiring Strickland. New York Knicks Coach Jeff Van Gundy is fond of Strickland and the Knicks would like to upgrade at point guard. However it is not believed that there have been trade talks between New York and Washington regarding Strickland.
Fit for a King
Wizards forward Gerard King, who played on the San Antonio Spurs NBA championship team last season, expects to receive his championship ring when Washington plays in San Antonio Dec. 11.