Knicks talk Walker

In pursuit of Celtics forward

By FRANK ISOLA
DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITER


The Knicks are in serious trade discussions with Celtics for Antoine Walker, possibly for Latrell Sprewell.

Scott Layden's plan to revamp the Knicks roster could include Celtics All-Star power forward Antoine Walker.

The Knicks and Celtics have had serious discussions in recent days concerning a deal for Walker, according to a league source.

A potential deal could include Latrell Sprewell, whose contract matches Walker's. Or Boston could be looking to cut payroll by adding several lower-salaried players, including Kurt Thomas. A third team may have to be involved in order to complete the deal.

Walker, who will turn 27 in August, has averaged 20.8 points and 8.7 rebounds in seven NBA seasons. But the 6-9 forward was severely outplayed by Kenyon Martin in the Nets' four-game second-round sweep of Boston. Walker averaged just 14 points and shot 34% in the series.

Since the Celtics' playoff exit, Walker has been the subject of several trade rumors, including one to his hometown Chicago Bulls. While Walker is a talented albeit moody player, many teams have been turned off by his contract, which calls for him to make $28 million over the next two seasons.

Sprewell is also scheduled to earn $28 million over the next two seasons, although his contract includes an opt out clause for July 2004. The Knicks have been looking to move Sprewell since last summer but have found few willing partners.

Layden, the Knicks president, has a surplus of power forwards on his roster and that position became even more crowded with the additions of Mike Sweetney and Maciej Lampe during last week's NBA draft. Layden would not hesitate to trade Thomas, Clarence Weatherspoon or Othella Harrington.

And although the Celtics drafted a point guard, they could be in the market for Charlie Ward, whose contract expires after the 2003-04 season. Ward's contract also includes a buyout clause for $2 million, which can be exercised starting tomorrow.

Layden's interest in Walker makes sense on many levels. Antonio McDyess is coming off knee surgery and may miss a second straight season. And since Larry Johnson retired, the Knicks have been devoid of a true low-post scorer.

Last season, Don Chaney ran his offense through Sprewell. With Walker on the team, the Knicks could feature him either in the post or as a point forward.
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spree 4 walker? that's an acceptable trade i'll say