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62° Good Afternoon

Summer fling

  A few Twitter-based rumors to squelch:

* - The usually solid David Aldridge ( said the Knicks were scheduled to meet with free agent Josh Howard on Wednesday. Inaccurate. Two sources indicated to me that Howard's representation initiated contact with the Knicks to try to sell the 30-year-old forward, who is still recovering from ACL surgery. There is no interest there for several reasons, none more obvious than the fact that the Knicks are loaded with wings.

Howard could re-sign with the Wizards, who declined to pick up his $10M team option, which sent him into free agency. He's a talent, but character issues in the past make him a player the re-building Wizards, who want to be careful who they put around John Wall, and the re-building Knicks, who have had their fill of malcontents, aren't the best environments for him.

* - Another generally accurate reporter, Brian Windhorst (Cleveland Plain Dealer), said the Knicks had inquired about a sign-and-trade for the rights to free agent Shaquille O'Neal. I had heard early in the free agency process that Shaq was a name that came up in discussions. Mike D'Antoni has a great deal of respect for him and his size is still valuable, especially when you have to bang with the likes of Kendrick Perkins, Dwight Howard and Brook Lopez in the East. It would save Amar'e Stoudemire from the need to play center, as well. The two have played together before so there is some familiarity.

I made a recent follow-up -- as recent as Tuesday, actually -- to the Shaq scenario and was told it was probably not something the Knicks would pursue at this point. There is still a major question mark at center, unless Eddy Curry shows up at training camp ready to go, so Shaq could fit the bill. There's apparently interest from the Atlanta Hawks, which might be more attractive to Shaq.

* - It is most likely that the Knicks are done actively pursuing anyone -- aside from, of course, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul -- this summer. Donnie Walsh still has about $2M or so left under the cap, but it's not exactly burning a hole in his pocket, not with the situations involving Melo and CP unsettled. Make that VERY unsettled, with the sudden departure of GM Jeff Bower from the New Orleans Hornets.  Bower, a realist, was open to listening to offers for Chris Paul, who is growing antsy about staying with the Hornets if they're not going to commit to building a championship-contender around him. We told you earlier this week about Paul's interesting comments at Carmelo Anthony's wedding about forming a Big Three, with Melo and Amar'e Stoudemire, in New York.

Clearly, Hornets president Hugh Weber and Bower did not agree on how to handle the Chris Paul situation. It'll be curious to see what comes of it now, especially with the franchise still in an ownership transfer.

With so much uncertainty there, plus with Anthony still mulling his future with the Nuggets, it would appear Walsh would prefer to maintain some flexibility here rather than lock up all of his cap space.

Plus, you can always see what bargains may remain when we get closer to training camp. 

In the meanwhile, you can expect agents to use the Knicks and their remaining cap space as options for their players, so the rumors are sure to continue through the summer.



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