Good Afternoon
Good Afternoon

The Knicks are on the clock

 Donnie Walsh stuck to his guns, despite how much his scouts tried to lobby him to jump into the first round to grab one of their targets. Walsh didn't view this as a deep draft that was worth the cost of moving into the first round, which would have eaten up as much as a half-million in cap space because first round picks are guaranteed and become cap holds.

So the results of draft night are Andy Rautins, Landry Fields and possibly Jerome Jordan, as well. The Knicks would love it if all three were good enough to make the opening night roster. They might need them to just to have the 12 that the NBA requires, especially if they plan to use their cap space to sign two max players.

The Bulls and Heat made some moves that had the NBA buzzing again about LeBron James leaving Cleveland to choose either location as his new home. The Knicks continue to be the overlooked option, mainly because the Bulls have Derrick Rose already on the roster and the Heat have Dwyane Wade. 

Walsh admitted the cap-saving moves by those teams were added motivation to resist moving up in the draft.

"There are a lot of teams out there creating more cap [space]," he said, "so we wanted to make sure our position was unchanged."

Now begins the game within the game. With still a week before teams are permitted to contact free agents, there will be preparations for over-the-top recruiting efforts. The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that the Knicks were preparing to wine-and-dine LeBron James on July 1 with a lavish dinner party with a celebrity chef and a penthouse apartment. While it's obvious the Knicks would plan to put together a major production to welcome their top free agent targets, the suggestion that they already have a meeting set up with James is inaccurate and allows the Cavaliers to accuse the Knicks of tampering.

The Knicks have been painstakingly careful with tip-toeing the line on tampering over the last two years while making the obvious effort to clear enough cap space to make a serious run at the top free agents in this talented class. The last thing they want to do is blow it now.

And, quite frankly, as I wrote in Friday's print editions, the Knicks should be careful about making too much of a desperate play for LeBron, especially if popular opinion is correct and he has Chicago as his top choice. They need to find out if LeBron has any serious interest and if he doesn't, on to the next one. Make Chris Bosh the priority and try to use the cap space to build a talent around him, with Ray Allen and Rudy Gay as free agent targets and Tony Parker or Darren Collison as trade options.

Get ready for the rampant speculation, Fixers. Get ready for a wild week.

Walsh has done everything he could to get this franchise to this point. Now let's see if he can finish the job.

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* - Mike D'Antoni said Bill Walker has lost almost 30 pounds since the Knicks acquired him on Feb. 18 from the Celtics in the Nate Robinson trade. Walker, who has been working out at the MSG Training Center with Toney Douglas, is down to 227 pounds, according to D'Antoni. He arrived tipping the scales at 254.


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