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Knicks seek guard help but ultimately stand pat at deadline

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- The New York Knicks tried to execute a trade to upgrade their backcourt but ultimately stood pat at the NBA's trade deadline.

New York inquired with the Minnesota Timberwolves about acquiring Ricky Rubio, per league sources with knowledge of the discussion. The talks did not progress. The Knicks also talked to Minnesota about guard Kevin Martin, according to ESPN senior writer Marc Stein. But they didn't strike a deal with the Timberwolves.

In addition to the talks with Minnesota, Phil Jackson's club coveted the Atlanta Hawks' Jeff Teague. But the Knicks were unable to put together a deal to entice the Hawks, who stopped taking offers for Teague shortly before the deadline, according to ESPN's Chris Broussard.

One source indicated that opposing teams were looking for first-round picks in most of the deals the club was involved in, which is a price the Knicks were apparently unwilling to pay.

Sheridan Hoops reported that New York discussed a deal with the Houston Rockets for Patrick Beverley but decided the asking price of a first-round pick and two rotation players was too steep.

Jackson said last week that he hoped to make a deal but acknowledged that the Knicks didn't have strong assets to offer in trade talks.

"We're looking to improve this ball club, there's no doubt," the team president said. "Do we sit in a really favorable spot? Probably not. We don't have a tremendous amount of favorable trade items that are on our roster."

The Knicks and interim coach Kurt Rambis will now turn their focus to making a playoff push. New York will enter the post All-Star break portion of the schedule five games behind the eighth-place Charlotte Hornets.

It's worth noting that the four teams ahead of the Knicks in the standings -- the Orlando Magic, Detroit Pistons, Hornets and Washington Wizards -- all made trades Thursday.

There's no way to know what kind of impact those trades will have on each of the teams, but most NBA observers believe Detroit improved itself by landing Tobias Harris. Charlotte added Courtney Lee, Washington traded for Markieff Morris and Orlando acquired Ersan Ilyasova and Brandon Jennings in the Harris deal.

Rambis has said the Knicks' "No. 1 goal" is to make the playoffs, which is the right approach. But the club faces daunting odds.

New York, according to ESPN's postseason odds tracker, has a 0.6 percent chance of making the playoffs.

Still, Rambis and several Knicks players are optimistic that the Knicks can buck the odds and earn a playoff berth.

"We handpicked all of these guys. These are players that we liked, we wanted," Rambis said. "We know this isn't a finished product. We've got to continue to improve. But we handpicked all these guys so we like them."

The Knicks have an open roster spot and Rambis said Thursday they are looking at several players to potentially fill the opening. One player the Knicks might consider is Jimmer Fredette. The 2011 first-round pick has played for the Westchester Knicks for the entire season.

The Knicks showed no inclination of signing Fredette in early January. But they didn't use their open roster spot in a trade, so Fredette might be in play once again.

New York next plays Friday against the Brooklyn Nets.