LAS VEGAS — When LeBron James announced his decision to play for the Miami Heat early Thursday night, one side effect was that it cleared the way for the Warriors to make forward Anthony Randolph the centerpiece of a sign-and-trade deal that is sending him to New York for All-Star forward David Lee.
The trade won't be finalized until today, and Randolph was hesitant to talk until it became official. But the stunned looked on his face, moments after getting word of the deal, said it all.
He was an ex-Warrior.
"I don't what to say," he said quietly. "It's so crazy. I can't gather my thoughts right now. My job is just to play basketball. I've always taken the position of whatever happens, happens. Still, it can be a shock when it happens."
Randolph was in Las Vegas to practice with the Warriors summer league team, but now he's headed to a new club.
"It's just so bittersweet," Warriors guard Stephen Curry added. "I thought we had a young core that could grow together. I saw real potential in our group. But that's the business. You can't pick who you play with. You just have to make the best of situations."
The 14th pick of the 2008 draft, Randolph has been a summer-league sensation the past two years. Last summer, he averaged 26.8 points a game and earned an invitation to the USA national team's minicamp.
Last season, though, Randolph was an enigma. He was inconsistent, showing flashes of brilliance one night and disappearing the next as his playing time fluctuated under coach Don Nelson. Basically, he acted his age — he won't turn 21 until next week.
Then, his season came to an abrupt end Jan. 8 against Sacramento with a severely sprained ankle.
"I need to raise my basketball IQ," said Randolph, who averaged 11.6 points and 6.5 rebounds in 33 games last season. "I've learned that it's not enough to just be a guy who is athletic."