While Isiah Thomas continues to shop Penny Hardaway's expiring contract up till the Feb. 23 trade deadline, the Knicks' president continues to protect rookie Channing Frye.
A league source who has spoken to Thomas told The Post the Knicks rejected the Lakers' overtures for Frye, even though they were willing to make 6-10 Queens product Lamar Odom available in a larger package.
Odom, 26, is averaging 13.9 points and 9.4 rebounds, but the Knicks have fears of him playing in his hometown New York, much the same way they feared Ron Artest.
The estranged Hardaway joined the sinking Knicks at Rice University for practice yesterday after a seven-week hiatus. Hardaway has rehabbed his arthritic knees in Houston and is not expected back this season. However, trade partners don't care about Hardaway's health, just his contract.
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