From Friday’s New York Times and Howard Beck :

Isiah Thomas continues to pursue Toronto’s Vince Carter, monitor Chicago’s Eddy Curry and explore any and all moves that might push the Knicks, who are 9-9, beyond the ranks of the mediocre.

To that end, Thomas made a call Wednesday to the agent for Karl Malone, the disillusioned former Los Angeles Lakers forward. A free agent, Malone is nearly ready to play again after recovering from off-season knee surgery. But because of a recent publicized rift with Kobe Bryant, he no longer wishes to play for the Lakers.

“Isiah was very forward yesterday,” Dwight Manley, Malone’s longtime agent, said in a telephone interview.

Even at age 41, the bruising Malone would be an asset to any team with championship aspirations. He could make the Knicks contenders in the East just by signing a contract.

Of course that, too, is probably a fairy tale. As Manley admitted, Malone’s joining the Knicks “would be a long shot.”

Malone’s priority has been to win a championship before he retires, and a number of true contenders, including San Antonio, Minnesota and Miami, are courting him.

The Knicks would become infinitely more attractive to Malone if they acquired Carter or another player of his caliber. But that’s the fairy tale again.

In reality, the Knicks may have to stand pat for a while. They have offered Houston to Toronto, but the Raptors are not intrigued by an aging shooter with a history of knee problems and a hefty contract. Toronto has instead asked for 24-year-old Jamal Crawford, whom the Knicks will not part with.

Indeed, while half the Knicks roster has been mentioned in trade speculation, only two players – Stephon Marbury and Crawford – have been deemed untouchable by the Knicks, according to a prominent player agent.

Congrats to Black Francis & Marcus Camby’s alma matter, the University Of Massachusetts at Amherst on their buzz-beating 61-59 win over UConn last night ,