œWe™re not even close to being a throwaway, Coach Mike D™Antoni tells the New York Times’ Howard Beck, refuting widespread speculation the entire 2009-2010 season (tipping off tonight in Miami)  has already been flushed down the toilet while Donnie Walsh clears cap room to pursue LeBron, D-Wade or Chris Bosh next summer. œWe™re ready to try to make the playoffs and have a great season. And hopefully, the fans will enjoy what we™re doing. And if you believe that, Mike’s got a Newsday online subscription one of his colleagues would like to sell you.  From Beck’s Wednesday article :

Because of the N.B.A.™s salary-cap rules, the Knicks cannot outspend any other team to land a superstar. In fact, James and Wade can make millions more by staying put. D™Antoni is tremendously popular among N.B.A. stars, but his charm and his wide-open offense will get the Knicks only so far on the recruiting trail. Ditto for the mystique of Madison Square Garden and the lure of Madison Avenue.

At some point, the Knicks presumably have to show some progress and some promise, and the ability to help a superstar realize his championship ambitions.

œThat™s the logic, said the TNT commentator Kenny Smith, assessing the free-agent decisions of James and Wade. œBecause the criticism of your move is: Did you go to win? And if you™re going and you can™t win, then why did you move?

He concluded, œYou 100 percent have to go somewhere and win, and have a chance to win.”

Can the Knicks make a compelling enough case? Will they be more attractive to Wade or James or Chris Bosh than the other half-dozen teams that are projected to have substantial cap room?

Smith, who was part of two championship teams in Houston, is not convinced. He considered the Knicks™ roster and their coach, their arena and their city, and concluded simply, œThat list isn™t enough.”