(Is it too soon for that type of headline? Sorry.)

ESPN.com will get some good clicks out of Chris Sheridan's story that -- based on things Donnie Walsh didn't say -- suggests the Knicks will make a play for Gilbert Arenas once the dust settles in his gun-related troubles in the District.

While you can't deny it could be an option this summer, especially if the Knicks find they are unable to land the big fish in LeBron James, Dwyane Wade or even a Joe Johnson,it's extremely premature to speculate anything until the NBA  decides just how long they plan to ban Arenas, who Friday pleaded guilty to a felony gun charge.

The Wizards still have the option to void the remaining four years and $84M on Arenas' contract, though that would involve some reaction from the NBPA. Sheridan suggests the Knicks could trade contracts such as Eddy Curry and Jared Jeffries to made a deal work, but why would the Wizards want to do that when they can exercise the "morality clause" in the contract and completely clear it off their books without having to take money back.

I happened to talk to Walsh a week ago about the Arenas situation and he said similar things to me that he did Sheridan. "Somebody's going to take him, some day, whenever they can," Walsh said of the thought that Arenas may be untouchable. "That's what they told me about Artest: 'Oh, you'll never trade him.' But you do. And Sprewell came here."

Yes, the Knicks were the next stop for Latrell Sprewell after he was suspended for the rest of the 1997-98 season for choking his coach, P.J. Carlesimo (and during his suspension, Sprewell was put on house arrest for three months after he was charged for reckless driving and injured two people in a resulting car accident). But Dave Checketts, Ernie Grunfeld and Jeff Van Gundy met with Sprewell once the lockout ended in Feb. 1999 and made the move to bring him to New York. It paid off handsomely, as Sprewell helped the Knicks reach the NBA Finals that spring.

Could Arenas do the same? One thing is for sure, the Knicks desperately need a high-end point guard. If Chris Duhon has proven anything in his one-plus season as the starter here, it's that he would be a very, very good backup. He can run an offense and he is very smart, but not nearly consistent enough to be a lead dog.

Arenas at the top of a pick-and-roll with David Lee could be practically impossible to defend. Of course if he was that great of a leader and competitor, the Wizards wouldn't have been one of the worst teams in the NBA. Sprewell was an assassin on the court; a fierce competitor who didn't often have that goofy smile on his face like Arenas so often does during games. These are two extremely differentpersonalities and players and that's why, Fixers, you can't expect similar results.

It's certainly an interesting scenario to consider, but nothing anyone should believe is imminent or could even happen before the Feb. 18 trade deadline. I have a feeling he won't be available for quite a while.

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"We were dead," Chris Duhon said.

That was an absolutely stunning admission from Duhon after the 112-104 loss to the Raptors at the Garden tonight. But he certainly wasn't exaggerating.

"It was everybody," he continued. "Usually when you have those types of problems, you go to the bench and you look like that type of spark from the bench. Nobody early had it going. None of the starters, no one off the bench. It's hard and you try to find some way to get everybody excited about playing the game."

David Lee said he was trying to fire up his teammates when he did his mock dance around Andrea Bargnani in the first quarter after he banged on on the Raptors defense. Bargnani had just thrown one down at the other end and roared loudly as he looked toward his bench and Lee took exception to the act. It resulted in a technical foul on David for taunting Bargnani and while it seemed tempers may flare up, there were very few Knicks who had any kind of fire at all early in this one.

As we wrote in the game story for the print editions, Lee admitted he did bring some extra snarl into this game because of the matchup against Chris Bosh who potentially could replace him if the Knicks opt to sign Bosh this summer. "I was definitely aware of it defensively," Lee said of the matchup.

Lee played the entire game and nearly went for a triple-double (25 points, 14 rebounds, 9 assists) while Bosh had 18 points and 4 boards. It does look like Lee dominated the matchup, but Bosh played 30:55 and made 7 of his 10 field goals in the game.

Before the game, Bosh mostly sidestepped talk of this summer, though he did make a few interesting points. First, he definitely showed a disinterest in signing an extension with the Raptors in-season, saying, "I don't want to take on any extra baggage right now because my plate is full." Then when asked if he could see two stars teaming up as free agents, with one perhaps taking a little less than the max, Bosh replied, "That would be tough to do. You'd really have to make a big commitment to do that."

The most interesting was when he was asked if it mattered that a team, like the Knicks, wasn't a playoff team and would that impact how you view them. Bosh seemed to recognize something most fans -- and media outside of New York -- fail to see: that the Knicks team on the court this season won't resemble what it could be next season.

"In order to get certain guys, you have to make room," Bosh said in reference to the salary cap. "So there's no telling what kind of team will be here next year."

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* - Al Harrington scored 31 points but you could argue he didn't exactly have a great game. His did rip off 24 in the second half as part of a comeback attempt, but, really, aside from hitting 5 of 11 from three-point range, Harrington's offense was loaded with forced shots and out-of-control moves. And in the first half, he made the same mistake three times -- he left Andrea Bargnani on the perimeter to double-down on Bosh -- and was burned each time. Harrington should know to stay home on a shooter such as Bargnani.

* - Rough start for Danilo Gallinari on "Italian Heritage Night" at the Garden, though he did finish strong with 26 points. The game was broadcast in Italy, which might have had him nervous in the early going, when he missed his first five shots (including a very awkward dunk attempt that fell short of the rim...).

* - That DeMar DeRozan kid sure can play. He had 19 points, made some very athletic plays and some clutch baskets for the Raptors, who selected him 10th overall.