GREENBURGH, N.Y. Donnie Walsh's eyes grew wide when talk of Thursday's NBA Draft moved to talk of some of the surprising veteran names that have been mentioned in trade conversations.
"I'm not going to say who it is, but I heard it today, I was like, 'No, there's no way'," Walsh said. When his scouts confirmed the star player in mention was being offered around, Walsh replied, "You're kidding me."
Walsh said he hadn't made any calls on it as of yet, but added, "When I leave here, I will check it out."
All kinds of names have been whispered recently, from Carmelo Anthony, Lamar Odom and Michael Redd to Baron Davis and T.J. Ford. The biggest name mentioned in trade scenarios so far is Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade, but another name that could emerge out of Miami is Shawn Marion, who just picked up his $17.8 million option for next season.
And with the Bulls expected to take Derrick Rose first overall, there is talk that the Heat may draft Kansas State forward Michael Beasley with the intention to package him in a trade and eventually wind up with USC guard O.J. Mayo.
The Knicks, who own the No. 6 pick, have an eye on Mayo and, depending on how the draft shakes out, could wind up in place to grab him.
What they do with him from there is uncertain, especially if Walsh in his first draft as Knicks president could somehow parlay it into reuniting Marion, a former Phoenix Suns all-star, with Mike D'Antoni.
"Donnie doesn't have just one plan," said a person with knowledge of the situation. "He has a Plan A, B, C and D."
Even Walsh has admitted "some of it is gamesmanship," but as he said Tuesday during his media address here at the MSG Training Center, the result of this year's draft for the Knicks depends largely on what the five teams ahead of them do first. The Knicks will likely choose from players such as Mayo, UCLA's Russell Westbrook and Italian swingman Danilo Gallinari. But Walsh has no idea what will be available to him until the draft actually takes place.
"I can sit here and tell you what I want all I want," Walsh said. "But the people who are in front of us are going to have some control over that."
With that in mind, Walsh has involved himself in talks with the Minnesota Timberwolves (third overall) and Memphis Grizzlies (fifth) that involve the Knicks moving up in the draft, which would ensure the opportunity to land Mayo. Minnesota is believed to also have an interest in Mayo, but Kevin McHale is believed to be more interested in landing a big man Stanford's Brook Lopez, for instance to play alongside forward Al Jefferson, who was the centerpiece of the Kevin Garnett trade with Boston.
The Grizzlies are believed to be locked into getting UCLA forward Kevin Love or landing a veteran power forward to play with newly-signed center Marc Gasol. So if Love isn't still available at No. 5, a person with knowledge of the situation said they would then trade the pick to the Knicks in a package that included fan favorite David Lee going to Memphis.
Walsh acknowledged that he's been in on a lot of conversations but nothing that was imminent. The Knicks haven't hid the intention to find a point guard to replace Stephon Marbury, but have not been involved in talks with Toronto regarding Ford. But trade talk will only heat up after the draft in July.