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wheeling and dealing

The Knicks Aren’t Trading Nate Robinson, by the Way

It was just over three weeks ago that the NBA fined Nate Robinson $25,000 for comments his agent made suggesting that the Knicks trade his client. At the time, you'll recall, Robinson was in the midst of fourteen straight DNPs and seated securely in the doghouse that Mike D'Antoni keeps at the end of the Knicks' bench. But since then, he's played in every game in 2010 — though it's a tad ridiculous that this is noteworthy — and has played so well that the Knicks may or may not be receiving trade offers from real contenders.

Boston has reportedly shown interest in acquiring Nate, and though Donnie Walsh said these are just rumors, he also made clear that for them to trade Nate right now, the trade would have to give them more than just cap space. "It's got to make us better this year, assuming there's no cap ramifications the following year," Walsh said. This would contradict the vague report of the Celtics offer, which implied that the Knicks would require a first-round pick from Boston — something that obviously wouldn't help them this season.

But if Walsh is serious about making a run at the playoffs (without deviating from the Plan to keep cap space open for the Summer of LeBron), he'd be unlikely to find a team willing to trade them someone who'd help more than Robinson can. (That's not to say such players aren't out there; they just won't be traded straight up for Nate.) Robinson, after all, is playing as well as he ever has right now. Even his agent is happy: He told the Post that he never wanted Nate traded in the first place and that he just wanted him off the bench. In which case, mission accomplished.

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Photo: Chris McGrath/Getty Images