Knicks Playing Deal or No Deal Before Deadline

The Knicks beat the Spurs on Tuesday night because Nate Robinson continued to show off his ability to play the game the right way. He put the hot doggery on the back burner and settled for carrying the offense in the fourth quarter and overtime, continually taking the ball to the hoop and scoring 13 of the team's final 20 points. As in the Clippers loss, you waited for the other shoe to drop, but it never did and Robinson was spectacular. 

Other teams notice these things, which is why Robinson's name has become linked to trade rumors involving Sacramento's Brad Miller. Miller would give the Knicks some much needed size up front, and he's got a contract that runs out after next year. David Lee, who turned in his customary double-double against San Antonio, is also getting mentioned in trade talks. A trade of either would also remove dead weight from the roster, because their salaries are too small to make any trade happen all by itself.

If that dead weight could somehow include Eddy Curry or Jared Jeffries, all the better. Those are the last two stumbling blocks to the 2010 plan of signing free agents and bringing peace to the Middle East. 

Well, signing free agents anyway. If the Knicks keep both Lee and Robinson through the trade deadline and re-sign them this summer, they'd be making it more difficult to land those free agents they want. If they keep them for the rest of the season and then lose them for nothing, they aren't doing much of anything to help the team win in the short-term, which is something Donnie Walsh has called a priority. 

If they deal one or both, though, they would surely improve their cap position, but probably wouldn't help the team. Losing Lee would take away the hardest working player on the team, while Robinson is increasingly looking like the guy to take big shots down the stretch of close games. That's a lot to give up to continue pursuing a 2010 dream that could wind up with two second-tier free agents and a limited improvement in playoff prospects. 

Unless the Knicks can land Chris Bosh, whose name has been dangled, or Amare Stoudemire, i.e. players who they might be signing in 2010 anyway, or drop Curry and/or Jeffries, a trade doesn't make much sense. The short term gain will be limited and it will close the door on too many options for the summer.  

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