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Knicks get up-close look at big man Bosh

The buzz just isn't the same for this potential member of the famed Class of 2010, though his name is regularly grouped with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade among the headliners. The Garden didn't swoon for Chris Bosh during the Knicks' 102-95 loss to the Raptors Saturdaythe way it did for James earlier this season, but that doesn't make him any less desirable to the Knicks, who will be shopping for all-star talent when they have all that salary-cap space in the summer of 2010. It could be even sooner if the Raptors decide to trade Bosh, a four-time all-star forward, this summer before his opt-out. Raptors general manager Bryan Colangelo plans to sit down with Bosh after the season to discuss the future. Basically, he could leave it up to Bosh to decide whether he wants to stay in Toronto or look for a bigger market. "I know there has been a lot of speculation, but right now, I'm just trying to take care of business," Bosh said before yesterday's game. "Try to be the best player I can be, the best teammate, make this team the best it can be and not worry about anything else." Bosh - who clearly has been physically limited during the second half of the season because of a heavy brace on his right knee, which he sprained in February - had 17 points and 13 rebounds for the Raptors (30-45), who have won six straight. Al Harrington and Chris Duhon each had 22 points for the Knicks (29-47), who were officially eliminated from playoff contention for a fifth straight season. They have lost four straight, 10 of 11 and 22 of 30. Lottery positioning - the Knicks are in the eighth slot and closing in on Golden State (27-49) for seventh - now takes precedence for some, but Mike D'Antoni doesn't want to hear about it. "You don't battle all year and then just quit," he said. At least it officially begins talk of next season . . . and the one after that. Bosh, like James, spoke candidly about the possibility of New York as a destination. "It's always an attractive place," he said. "Madison Square Garden is one of the special places for basketball. Just the city alone is attractive to a lot of players. It's a tourist spot. There are a lot of things the city has to offer." Bosh, a key member of the gold medal-winning Redeem Team at the Beijing Olympics, has plenty to offer the Knicks, who need an athletic big man who can rebound, block shots and score both in the post and on the perimeter. Bosh would be a good fit for D'Antoni's system, which Team USA utilized at the Olympics. Bosh, in fact, called D'Antoni "an offensive genius." The Knicks - who are owned by Cablevision, which also owns Newsday - could attempt to trade for Bosh this summer if the Raptors decide to entertain offers for his $15.7-million salary next season. David Lee could be dangled as a key piece of such an offer, but as a restricted free agent, Lee cannot be dealt until July 9. There will be plenty of other teams looking to get in on potential Bosh talks, including the Warriors, who could offer unwanted Jamal Crawford (Toronto needs a scoring guard), intriguing rookie Anthony Randolph and their lottery pick. And Colangelo likely would prefer to send Bosh to the West rather than trade him to a division rival. Though Bosh said he'd like to stay in Toronto - he said he's asked "every day on the street" about his future by Raptors fans - there is a belief that he would prefer to play in a bigger market and on a bigger stage so he could create a bigger name for himself. "I know I'm a good player, whether people know it or not," he said. "I have a lot of confidence in my ability. I could really help a team; I could help this [Toronto] team. We just have to put some wins together, then people will start talking, and voila, here we are among the league's elite." That's exactly what the Knicks have in mind.


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