GREENBURGH, N.Y. (AP) -David Lee finished practice Tuesday, approached a group of reporters waiting and asked where he was headed today.
Maybe nowhere, though the fact it's even a question proves the New York Knicks truly have reached an era that includes planning for the future.
The Knicks of Isiah Thomas were known for overpaying for bad talent, ignoring salary caps and luxury taxes while stockpiling big names with bigger deals. That ended when Donnie Walsh arrived, bringing fiscal responsibility with him.
``I can't say that that's what it was, because I wasn't here,'' the Knicks president said Monday. ``But this is where we are.''
That's why Lee and Nate Robinson, perhaps their most popular and promising players, continue to have their names pop up in trade rumors ahead of Thursday's deadline.
gible for big raises that may clash with New York's future spending plans.
Re-signing them could jeopardize potential runs at LeBron James and another marquee free agent in the summer of 2010, but allowing them to leave removes two players who appear to be flourishing in D'Antoni's system.
Walsh could act first by trading them before the deadline to get something in return - though he said he could also do that around the draft.
``I think that is definitely Donnie's question because that's what he has to weigh,'' D'Antoni said. ``Doesn't mean we're going to jump on something that doesn't make any sense.''
Lee and Robinson both are averaging 16.4 points, tied for second on the team. Lee also is grabbing 11.8 rebounds per game and is tied with All-Star Dwight Howard for the NBA lead with 42 double-doubles. He's the Knicks player drawing the most interest around the league, mentioned in potential deals this season with Denver and Portland.
``It's obviously a function of what's going to happen if they do try to re-sign me this summer, it's a function of the business side of things,'' Lee said. ``I understand that, Mr. Walsh understands that, he knows that I understand that, so I'll be a man about this and continue to go about my business and play hard and I hope I'll be here.''
aight games with a second slam dunk title at All-Star weekend in between.
Lee earns $1.8 million this season and Robinson about $2 million. Both could command much more this summer, with the Knicks able to match any offers they receive.
The 2010 plans complicate how New York would handle their situations. The Knicks hoped to free up more space to alleviate those concerns by trading Eddy Curry, scheduled to make $11.3 million in 2010-11, but they haven't been able to get him on the court to showcase him for other teams.
So now they must decide what to do with two players they'd like to keep who may become too expensive to stay.
``I don't want to break it to you, but there's real money involved here,'' Walsh said. ``Like, you know, that come out in $1 bills.''
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