Malik's Philly's Phamous is only a memory in San Antonio.

That's because Malik Rose, the pride of Overbrook High and Drexel University, discovered how difficult it could be to oversee his two restaurants from New York.

In his seven-plus seasons with the Spurs, Rose not only won two NBA championships, he also provided the city with a taste of Philly.

"I sold them in November," the Knicks' backup forward said before last night's 104-84 loss to the 76ers. "The restaurant business is hard. It was a lot of work when I was in San Antonio, but from up in New York, it proved to be too much if I wanted to put the touch on it that I wanted. It got really hard to oversee, so I finally listened to one of the offers and took it."

When David Robinson retired from the Spurs, he designated Rose as their new spiritual leader. With the Knicks, he barely plays. He was scoreless in 2 minutes last night.

"If he didn't accept us trying to rebuild with younger players, giving them a lot of minutes, letting them play through their mistakes, he could have been a problem," Knicks coach Isiah Thomas said. "He's been [like] David Robinson; he's our leader. He's definitely our leader. That's unusual for a guy who doesn't play, to still have that kind of respect."

Rose played through the coaching tenures of Herb Williams and Larry Brown, and seems to feel some sense of rejuvenation with Thomas.

"There probably wouldn't be another coach I'd want to sit the bench for," Rose said. "Isiah has been unbelievably professional with me - straight up, straightforward. He shows me an unwarranted amount of respect; he asks my opinion. Even though I'm not a big part of the team, he makes me feel as if I am."

His first season with the Knicks, in 2004-05, was his first not with a playoff team.

"It was culture shock, getting taken away from [San Antonio]," he said. "It was hard for me at first, and I didn't really adjust to it [after being traded] the last 6 weeks of that year. Last year, I approached it with a different mind-set, but the losing made it really tough. I went from winning 60 games a year to losing 60 games."

As a rookie with then-Charlotte, he ordered 70 tickets for family and friends on his first visit as a pro. He doesn't have that kind of demand anymore.

"But it's OK," he said, laughing. "I still get excited to come home, even though I get home a little more now that I'm living in New York. I came down for a lot of Eagles games. The Philadelphia crowd still gives me a little warm welcome."

Trade winds

In the Sixers' locker room, the concept of trade winds, even with today's 3 p.m. deadline, seemed barely more than a gentle breeze.

"I don't say anything [to the players]," coach Maurice Cheeks said. "The trade deadline comes every year; it's something that happens. It's out of everyone's control, so you just kind of wait and see, and just go play. You don't give it that much thought."

The Sixers had some mild interest in Jackie Butler, 21, a 6-10 backup big man with San Antonio, but that appeared to be an attempt to add a draft pick more than anything else. Butler, something of a favorite of Sixers executive vice president Larry Brown, appeared in three games with New York in 2004-05. He has six appearances this season with the Spurs, carrying a contract worth $2.2 million, with two additional seasons remaining. *