Talent wise, Francis is the best player of the group. In every other area, this trade makes absolutely no sense for the Knickerbockers. Let me count the ways:
1) I get this is no longer of consequence, but it screws them over as far as the cap is concerned.
2) They basically have 5 shoot-first PG/SG in Francis, Stephon Marbury, Nate Robinson, Jalen Rose, and Jamal Crawford. How can these guys get along both on and off the court, and why push the young guy with solid potential in Nate Robinson even deeper on the depth chart? This is not a move that will get the Knicks anywhere near the playoffs, so what's the point?
3) The underrated bad part, in my opinion, is giving up Ariza. I understand he's in Larry Brown's doghouse, but he's 20 years old, very athletic, and defensive-minded. He was an effective player last year. He is solid.
And the critics agree.
Chad Ford of ESPN says that he now realizes Isiah's plan is to come out with the best player of each trade, regardless of contracts, chemistry, personnel, etc.
John Hollinger of ESPN says the Magic come out as big winners.
Marty Burns of SI likes the deal for the Magic.
Tony Mejia of CBS Sportsline doesn't know what Isiah is doing.
Mike Kahn of FoxSports wonders what the point of the deal is.
Dan compares them to a Mid-Major team "that has talented guards who can shoot and run but they are incapable of recruiting big men."
I'll leave you with an interesting observation from Chad Ford:
It makes you wonder whether Isiah really played on the same team Joe Dumars did in the late '80s. Dumars looked at his years playing with the Pistons and came to the conclusion that chemistry, work ethic and guys who could fill a particular role were the foundation of a contender. Isiah came to the opposite conclusion.