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D'Antoni views Chandler as a Knicks building block

Wilson Chandler is undaunted when it comes to defending Kevin Garnett or driving to the rim against Dwyane Wade. But tell the young Knicks forward that Mike D'Antoni sees great potential in him, and Chandler tenses right up.

"I'm kind of nervous because of him looking at me like that," the soft-spoken Chandler said. "It's like I've got to do a lot this summer to get a whole lot better."

He's already come a long way in just his second season, which will end with Chandler among the top 10 scorers of a solid NBA sophomore class that includes Kevin Durant, Danny Granger and Al Thornton.

Chandler, who had 21 points in Sunday's 122-105 loss to Wade and the Heat, enters tomorrow's season finale against the Nets fourth on the Knicks in scoring with 14.4 points per game. And D'Antoni believes there is a lot more ahead for him.

"He's a great kid that works hard and I really think he has a chance," D'Antoni said. "That will depend on him and the work that he puts in in the summertime, and he thinks he's going to do it. I hope he does."

Instead of spending the summer in his hometown of Benton Harbor, Mich., Chandler says he will remain in New York and work out at the MSG Training Center. The Knicks would love it if Danilo Gallinari, who had back surgery last week, would do the same.

In what is expected to be an offseason in which team president Donnie Walsh will attempt to begin the massive rebuild of the franchise, Chandler and Gallinari are two players the team plans to build around.

"I try not to think about it," Chandler said, "but it definitely makes it easier." Notes & quotes: Courtney Sims' second 10-day contract expired yesterday, Monday,and, despite the fact there is only one game left, the Knicks might sign the little-used Sims for the remainder of the season. With Sims, Joe Crawford and Mouhamed Sene signed through the end of the season, it gives the Knicks extra players who could fit into potential trades.


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