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Knicks are eyeing the draft, but James, Bosh, Wade are their field of dreams

JAIME C.HARRIS | 4/12/2011, 4:40 p.m.

Tonight (Thursday) at the WaMu Theater at Madison Square Garden, the Knicks' rebuilding plan continues.

Only team president Donnie Walsh, head coach Mike D'Antonio and a handful of others know with certainty what the Knicks will do with the eighth overall pick in the NBA draft.

While this draft does not possess the depth of immediate impact players as did last year's--a group that featured Derrick Rose, O.J. Mayo, Russell Westbrook and Brook Lopez, all highly productive starters for their respective teams--the impending 2009- 2010 rookie class does have some intriguing prospects.

Guards Stephen Curry, Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans and Brandon Jennings, along with power forward Jordan Hill, all have been prominently referenced as possible Knicks picks.

Each has favorable promise yet none are viewed as the level of player around which championships are built. Aside from Blake Griffin, the 6-foot-9 forward from Oklahoma, who will be the first player taken by the Los Angeles Clippers, there are no franchise-type players from which to choose.

Whomever the Knicks acquire through the draft and or via trade, they will merely be a piece to a much larger composition the organization's brain trust is constructing. It is common knowledge that the Knicks hope to obtain the centerpiece of their future next summer when LeBron James and Dwayne Wade have the option of becoming free agents. The Knicks obviously prefer James but would be thrilled if they could land Wade and add Chris Bosh, another looming free agent.

Any combination of the three would put the Knicks near the top of the Eastern Conference. With questions regarding the long-term health of Danilo Gallinari, the Knicks' first round pick (sixth overall) from a year ago who is recovering from back surgery, and not having a first round pick next year (relinquished in the 2004 trade for Stephon Marbury), it is crucial that Walsh secure a young man who will emerge as a key contributor. His options would be greatly improved if the NBA did not have the ridiculous rule of disallowing high school seniors to directly enter the league.

(See "Blogging With The Sports Guys," www.amsterdamnews.com.)