Knicks trade rumors swirl with Rasheed Wallace, Marcus Camby still out
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GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- The Knicks opened the unofficial second half of the season on Tuesday by having all 15 players on the practice floor for the first time this year.
Still, it was a little early to get excited about the limited participation from Rasheed Wallace and Marcus Camby. Neither player has been cleared for contact drills and it remains unclear when they might be ready to rejoin the team.
"Today was a big step for both of them in terms of conditioning," coach Mike Woodson said. "But I'm not just going to throw them in a uniform. They are going to have to show me they can run up and down. Then we'll consider putting them in a ballgame."
Camby has been sidelined since Jan. 11 with a strained left plantar fascia; Wallace has been out since Dec. 15 with a stress reaction in his left foot.
Though neither veteran would be expected to play major minutes, Wallace had given the Knicks a strong presence in the middle before he was injured. In 20 games, the 38-year-old averaged 7.2 points and 3.2 rebounds in 14.6 minutes. Camby, 38, has been less of a factor, averaging 2.1 points and 3.7 rebounds in 10.4 minutes.
With both players still out, there has been speculation the team might be looking to make a move for a veteran big man before the trade deadline Wednesday. But Woodson said there is nothing imminent.
"I don't think we have anything working," Woodson said. "You always talk, but we like the makeup of our team as we stand today. This is our basketball team, I think, and we have to move forward in the right direction."
The Knicks lost three of four games heading into the All-Star break. Woodson said he thought about changing the starting lineup but decided not to.
"I had a few days to think about it," Woodson said. "We're 8-5 with the lineup the way it was with [Iman Shumpert] being back. A couple of those games were right there and we probably could have won. I'm not going to panic and make any unnecessary changes that I don't think we need."
Notes & quotes: Woodson said his team "feels good" about their chances of beating the defending champion Heat should they meet in the playoffs. "I think our guys feel good about being able to beat them in a seven-game series," Woodson said on ESPN Radio. "It's not going to be easy. I mean, they're the best team in the league . . . But I think if we're in a seven-game series with them, I truly believe we have an opportunity to beat them." The Knicks' next game against the Heat is March 3 at the Garden . . . In the 10 games before the break, Jason Kidd averaged 3.3 points in 22.5 minutes. Woodson said that he has talked to Kidd about being "more of a facilitator."
"I think he understands where I'm coming from," Woodson said. "He was doing that earlier in the year."