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Walsh excited about four newest Knicks

Anthony Randolph, formerly of the Golden State Warriors,

Anthony Randolph, formerly of the Golden State Warriors, drives against the Los Angeles Lakers. (Dec. 29, 2009) Credit: Getty Images

GREENBURGH, N.Y. - Youth, salary-cap flexibility and hope were three things Knicks fans hoped team president Donnie Walsh would bring to the table when he was hired two years ago.

Two of those came into play Monday as the Knicks introduced their newest acquisitions - Anthony Randolph, Kelenna Azubuike, Ronny Turiaf and Raymond Felton - at the MSG Training Center.

Randolph, Azubuike and Turiaf were acquired from the Golden State Warriors in a sign-and-trade deal for David Lee. Former Charlotte Bobcats point guard Felton was a free-agent signing.

Although Azubuike has an expiring deal and Randolph has a team option after the 2010-11 season, Walsh insisted the moves weren't made just for cap purposes.

"The guys I'm bringing here now are meant to come here and stay here," Walsh said. "They're the kind of players that you want even if you did have the cap flexibility to go out and get another player."

The 6-5 Azubuike is a career 41-percent three-point shooter who averaged 14.4 points per game in 2008-09 before a knee injury limited him to nine games in 2009-10. The 6-10, 250-pound Turiaf figures to give the Knicks solid minutes at center.

The most intriguing of the three former Warriors is Randolph. Selected by Golden State with the 14th pick in 2008, the 6-10 forward can play inside and outside.

Limited to 33 games because of an ankle injury last season, he averaged 11.6 points and 6.5 rebounds.

"He has got a high level of talent," Walsh said. "From everything that I can see, he's already gained at least 20 to 30 pounds since the draft."

A reported rift between Randolph and Warriors coach Don Nelson appears to be the main reason he was included in the deal. Walsh wouldn't take the bait when asked about the relationship. "You're not going to get me to say that Donnie Nelson held the guy back," Walsh said. "I have no idea . I'm not in Golden State."

Randolph said of Nelson: "It was just a situation where I think he wanted me to be a certain type of player and do certain things a certain way. I think I did that to the best of my ability."

Felton also figures to make an immediate impact. The 6-1 guard averaged 13.3 points and 6.4 assists in five seasons with the Bobcats. Walsh thought so much of Felton that he asked Bobcats coach Larry Brown last season what it would take to acquire him in a trade.

"He has a gigantic heart," Walsh said. "Larry told me, 'Donnie, I can't trade this guy.' "

As for what things will look like on the court, Felton is impressed with his new teammates. "It's going to be fun," he said. "We have scorers, we have shooters, we have rebounders and we have guys who are willing to defend. I'm excited."

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controlling interests in the Knicks, MSG and Cablevision. Cablevision owns Newsday.


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