Knicks, Nate near deal; Lee a holdout?

MARC BERMAN

While Knicks guard Nate Robinson is close to signing a one-year deal for more than the $2.9 million qualifying offer, the real story is David Lee’s situation, which is a lot less certain just four days before training camp opens in Saratoga.According to a source, Robinson could ink a one-year contract after agreeing to major portions of a incentive-laden deal.

A source with intimate knowledge of the situation said the deal still must be finalized but could be signed today or tomorrow.

Knicks officials are confident they also will ink Lee to a one-year deal before Monday’s camp. But his agent, Mark Bartelstein, stopped short of saying that, raising the specter of a holdout.

Robinson had already stated he would sign for the qualifying offer if he had to, but the Knicks offered slightly more in their hopes of showing respect.

The Post reported in late July Robinson and Lee felt "disrespected" by the franchise in not making long-term offers. They are on Day 86 of their free agency.

Though management has placed a low priority on winning this season to protect 2010 cap space, it wants to avoid the embarrassment of the team’s two most popular players holding out.

Lee and the Knicks are apart on numbers and incentives. Lee has been offered more than double his $2.5M qualifier.

"If I was confident and knew it’d get done by Monday, I’d say I was confident it will get done," Bartelstein told The Post. "We’re working at it. That’s all I can tell you."

Bartelstein had been seeking a multi-year deal at $10 million per.

http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/knicks/knicks_nate_near_deal_lee_holdout_8KAEmVNp1qCwOKsF3TC9dI

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