Originally Posted by NY Daily NewsHorn won't come for Spree
But Kurt, Charlie could go to Sixers
By FRANK ISOLA
DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITER
The Knicks are hoping to land Keith Van Horn.
BOSTON - The Knicks and Sixers have resurrected talks for a trade that would include Keith Van Horn but not Latrell Sprewell.
Officials from both teams have met face-to-face over the last two days here at the Reebok Summer League, and according to an NBA source, the discussions have centered upon a deal that would include sending Kurt Thomas and Charlie Ward to Philadelphia for Van Horn.
The Sixers do not have much interest in Sprewell, whom the Knicks are trying desperately to trade. Last summer, Thomas, Ward and Travis Knight were nearly sent to Philadelphia in a deal for Dikembe Mutombo, but the Knicks turned it down. Days later, Mutombo was traded to New Jersey for Van Horn and Todd MacCulloch.
"We've spoken to the Knicks a few times," said Sixers GM Billy King. "But I talk to everybody."
King met with Knicks president Scott Layden and Steve Mills, the Garden president of sports operations, for 10 minutes during halftime of the Sixers-Wizards summer league game. Layden and King had an informal discussion on Tuesday.
Both Layden and head coach Don Chaney have liked Van Horn for years. Layden has refused to comment on potential trades or free agent signings. But it is clear the Knicks feel a sense of urgency to get something done.
On a day that Clippers free agent center Michael Olowokandi signed with the Timberwolves, the Knicks were scrambling to find a center. The best available big man on the free-agent market is Indiana's Brad Miller, who is expected to re-sign with the Pacers. The Knicks' only chance of getting Miller would be in a sign and trade, which appears unlikely.
The Knicks were never in the running for Olowokandi, who signed for the mid-level exception of $4.91 million. The Knicks would have offered the same deal, but people in the organization raised concerned about Olowokandi's work ethic.
"We had entertained the idea of maybe meeting with him but we had some doubts about him," Chaney said. "It didn't surprise me what he signed for."
There is a theory that once Olowokandi is free from the Clippers he will emerge as a quality center in a league where such players are at a premium. Minnesota GM Kevin McHale, who lost Rasho Nesterovic to San Antonio one day earlier, believes his club can turn around Olowokandi's career.
If so, the Knicks will have to explain why they never made an attempt to land Olowokandi. Most of the big-name free agents have signed while the Knicks have been shut out.
Mills dismissed the notion that free agents no longer consider the Knicks a viable option because the team has experienced two straight losing seasons.
"I still think this is a place where players want to play," Mills said.
Sprewell, for one, has said repeatedly that his goal is to remain with the Knicks. However, Layden is exploring every trade possibility without much luck.
The Knicks are still hoping to work out a deal with San Antonio for Manu Ginobili. Portland and Dallas may be the only teams willing to take on Sprewell's bloated contract, which has two years and $28 million left on it.
"Latrell's status hasn't changed," Chaney said. "I would love to have him here, but when you're looking to improve your team you have to listen to what is out there. This is a business. Latrell knows that."
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