GREENBURGH, N.Y. - With the talk of 2010 so prevalent with the Knicks and tampering such a delicate issue for the NBA, Mike D'Antoni revealed a little more of his on-court conversation with Dwyane Wade toward the end of Sunday's 122-105 loss to the Heat in Miami. D'Antoni had a private chat with Wade, who had a career-high 55 points in the game and walked away from the conversation smiling.
Wade after the game was asked about the last part of the conversation, which caused him to turn back toward D'Antoni and laugh. "It was something about LeBron," Wade said. "He told me not to say."
Wade said this with a grin and with full knowledge of the speculation that the salary cap-clearing plan by the Knicks, who are owned Cablevision, which also owns Newsday, to make a run at LeBron James, who is expected to be a free agent in 2010.
D'Antoni said he and Wade were talking about their time together with the gold medal-winning "Redeem Team" at the Beijing Olympics.
"I told him, 'You were probably the best player at the Olympics,' " D'Antoni said. "And then I said, 'Hey, don't tell LeBron I said you're the best.' We were just playing around."
James and Wade have spent the season having fun with the 2010 talk - not just involving the Knicks but everyone who is clearing cap space to be a player in what could be a bountiful free-agency crop.
"They've got the world by the tail so obviously they can joke all they want," D'Antoni said. "But there's so much speculation and it's so far away . . . 2010, nobody knows what's going to happen."
Notes & quotes: The Knicks signed Chris Hunter, a 6-10 center out of the D-League, to fill out the roster after Courtney Sims was set free on Monday when his second 10-day contract expired. With the season ending tonight against the Nets, Hunter is merely a paperwork signing to give the Knicks another body they could include in a trade on draft night.