Isiah Thomas has said he doesn't expect to make any more major moves this offseason, but that hasn't stopped him from looking into every option on the open market, including point guard Mo Williams. Two people with knowledge of the situation yesterday confirmed that the Knicks have had discussions with the Milwaukee Bucks about a possible sign-and-trade for the 24-year-old Williams.
Both, however, suggested that Thomas' inquiry is merely due diligence. A person with knowledge of the Knicks' plans said the interest in Williams, as well as in free-agent point guard Steve Blake, is not to be read as a move to replace Stephon Marbury.
Thomas has already said he doesn't expect a deal for Blake to come to fruition and it also appears that Williams will wind up elsewhere, such as Miami. Pat Riley, Shaquille O'Neal and Dwyane Wade earlier this week each spent time recruiting Williams in South Florida. Williams might even consider taking less - perhaps mid-level exception money - to play for a championship contender such as Miami, but the Heat most likely will have to go the sign-and-trade route to ensure Williams gets a maximum deal.
Either way, it's bad news for the Knicks if Williams stays in the East. Last season, the former second-round pick torched them for 26.5 points and 8.3 assists per game in four meetings between the Knicks and Bucks.
On Tuesday, Thomas reiterated his plan not to use the mid-level exception to sign any free agents this summer. His inquiries into free agents in sign-and-trade situations may have as much to do with his attempts to cut down his 17-man roster to the required 15 as anything else. A trade that may add a small forward and rid the Knicks of some extra bodies is also a possibility.
Thomas said he planned to go on vacation after the NBA summer league in Las Vegas ends on Sunday, which suggests he doesn't expect to have anything to do for a while. "We have to be active, but we're not necessarily looking to do major things," Thomas said. "Small things that may help. But we're not looking to do anything major."