ESPN Insider on Francis
ESPN.com - NBA - Sheridan: Knicks looking to pair Stevie Franchise with Starbury: "Steve Francis is being strongly sought by the desperate New York Knicks, who want to pair him in the backcourt with Stephon Marbury in a bid to save their season.
Two sources involved in the Francis trade discussions told ESPN.com on Tuesday that New York is actively pursuing Francis, who is being shopped full throttle by the Orlando Magic.
The Denver Nuggets remain in the hunt for Francis, but they are not the leading option as they were a few days ago. The Minnesota Timberwolves also were trying to stay in the mix, looking for a third team to take on players Orlando is not interested in.
New York was believed to be offering Penny Hardaway, Jamal Crawford and at least one other player, likely Trevor Ariza, David Lee or Nate Robinson, in a deal in which the Knicks would also take back center Kelvin Cato, whose $8.64 million salary comes off the cap at the end of the season.
Cato would have to be included along with Francis ($13.7 million) to provide a match for the salaries of Hardaway ($15.75 million), Crawford ($6.5 million) and the third player, be it Robinson ($1.2 million), Lee (860,000) and/or Ariza $640,000).
The trade, if it were to come to fruition, would provide Orlando salary cap relief"