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Gallinari fits in last in Knicks' pecking order

TORONTO - Mike D'Antoni admittedly is walking a fine line between playing to win now and developing a talented young player. As much as he wants to keep Danilo Gallinari in his rotation, he also knows that playing a rookie over a veteran can be a precarious situation.

"I think he can help us," D'Antoni said of Gallinari, the only Knick not to play in yesterday's 111-100 loss to the Raptors. "But there's also, as you guys know, in the NBA a pecking order that you have to go through so you don't screw up the chemistry ... I love the kid and he's going to do well, but he's going to have to pay his dues and come along."

The veteran who appears to have Gallinari's minutes is Quentin Richardson, who played just 12:32 off the bench. Newcomers Larry Hughes and Chris Wilcox played 15:58 and 10:15, respectively. Nate Robinson got his usual playing time (33 minutes) as the sixth man.

D'Antoni talked to Gallinari about the situation before the game, and although he didn't tell the rookie he wouldn't play, Gallinari accepted it. "Every game is different," Gallinari said. "To me, it's fine. There are no problems ... It's not fun to stay off of the court, but like I said, every game is different. So I'm cool with that."

Curry not ready

Eddy Curry traveled to Toronto but still is not ready to practice with the team. Two weeks ago, he said he planned to be back on the court after the All-Star break, which was last week. With D'Antoni already having to work two new players into the lineup in the midst of a playoff push, it is highly unlikely that Curry will have any opportunity to play this season unless the Knicks fall out of contention.

Final countdown?

Stephon Marbury must come to a buyout agreement with the Knicks and be placed on waivers by Sunday if he hopes to sign with another team in time to be eligible for a postseason roster. Once a buyout is reached, the Knicks - who are owned by Cablevision, which also owns Newsday - would put Marbury on waivers. He would have 48 hours to clear waivers before becoming a free agent.

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