John Starks: Knicks need player or two

NEW YORK -- John Starks likes what he's seen from this group of New York Knicks this season, saying the sky is the limit for the team. But even with that potential, one of the franchise's fan favorites still thinks the Knicks could benefit from the addition of a great player or two to the roster.

"We definitely need a couple more players," Starks said Saturday afternoon at Baruch College in Manhattan. "I know there's been talk about certain players coming here and Donnie [Walsh] understands what it takes in order to put together a championship squad. He did it when he was in Indiana and he's doing a masterful job here in New York."

Walsh, the Knicks' GM, put together the Pacers team that won the Eastern Conference title in 2000.

Starks represented the Knicks on Saturday at Baruch for the Seventh Annual Big Apple Basketball Challenge, which pitted 10 high schools teams from New York's public and Catholic schools (five from each league) against one another. He signed autographs for fans and gave out awards to teams involved -- and he was happy to talk about the Knicks.

"You always have to continue to improve. You can't just sit still in this league and hope for the best," Starks said. "And what Donnie is trying to do is he's trying to put together that team can definitely get us back to the Finals."

With the NBA's trade deadline still more than a month away, time remains for the Knicks to upgrade their roster. While the team has gone from a bottom feeder to a national story in short time this season, losses in the past two games have shown the Knicks still have a ways to go before joining the Heat and Celtics in the East's upper echelon.

The Knicks are one of the teams said to be in pursuit of Denver All-Star Carmelo Anthony, who could be on the move before the trade deadline. Anthony, of course, would come at a hefty price, most likely involving expiring contracts, players with great promise and first-round picks.

Starks serves in the Knicks' alumni relations, fan development and community relations department, so he couldn't comment on Anthony specifically. But Starks didn't seem to be against the thought of a team putting together a massive package to acquire an elite player.

"It's happened before in the past and it worked out," Starks said, "depending on what player you're going after and what you have to give up. That's the business that's we're in. You sometimes have to give up a little bit more to get the type of player that you want."

A member of the Knicks' 1993-94 team that reached the NBA Finals, Starks believes that Madison Square Garden is back to its reputation as being one of the best basketball venues in the country this season.

"You can see the intensity, the energy that's in the building again and it's just exciting to see the city lit up right now," Starks said. "Walking down the street yesterday and you can hear the rhetoric about the Knicks now, and you haven't heard that in some years."

Matt Ehalt is a contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.