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Knicks trade of Nate to Celtics would face roadblocks

Nate Robinson's high-wire act could be heading to

Nate Robinson's high-wire act could be heading to Boston, but only if the Knicks and Celtics can work out what would likely be a complicated trade. Credit: Getty Images

GREENBURGH, N.Y. - In December, Nate Robinson vetoed a proposed trade that would have sent him to Memphis for Marcus Williams and a draft pick.

Now Robinson's name has come up in trade talks again, this time with the Boston Celtics. Indications are Robinson would not turn down this deal.

But a deal is far from certain. The clubs have talked, according to a source, but there is "nothing yet" happening. A straight-up trade between the teams is difficult because of Robinson's contract. Because Robinson, who signed a one-year contract off his rookie deal, is considered a "base-year" player, the Knicks, who are owned by Cablevision, which also owns Newsday, can only move him at a value of $2 million, though the receiving team would need $4 million (his actual salary) in cap space to take him. A third team - one with cap space, such as the Grizzlies or Oklahoma City Thunder - might need to be involved to make this work.

Indications are the Celtics are very interested in Robinson, who is averaging 15.9 points per game and shooting 50.4 percent from the field since he was put back into the rotation on Jan. 1 after a 14-game benching.

Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni has always liked Eddie House from his days in Phoenix, but House (a catch-and-shoot guard who is hitting just 39.4 percent from the field this season) doesn't come close to solving the Knicks' greatest need: a playmaking point guard. The Celtics aren't looking to deal any of their key rotation players and it is not likely the Knicks have interest in the likes of Tony Allen or Brian Scalabrine.

Robinson is aware of the Celtics talk. Before Wednesday's practice, he tweeted, "What is this Boston thing people are talking bout I'm lost like the TV show."

After practice, Robinson didn't want to talk about it at all, saying he would only answer questions about tomorrow's game against the Lakers (though he did also answer questions about his upcoming Slam Dunk competition appearance).

Asked specifically about getting traded, Robinson said: "I love basketball, man. Next question."

General manager Donnie Walsh, not surprisingly, also didn't want to talk about the Robinson-Celtics link. "I'm not commenting on trade rumors," he said. "And that's what they are. I'd spend all day doing it. I'm marking down to see the percentages that get published - like, you know, the guys pick horses in the papers - what's their percentage? There's a new one every day."

Walsh did praise Robinson's recent play and how he has adjusted his game since D'Antoni released him from the bench.

"I think Nate's really trying to do the right thing on the floor," he said. "It's obvious he's helping us."

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