We were told the Knicks would pursue Pau Gasol immediately after the season ended. Phil Jackson fancies guys who know him and his system, and Pau is perhaps the most prominent free agent of that sort. Marc Stein paints New York's interest in Gasol as Melo-bait and-- bonus!-- hears New York is feeling pretty good about their status with Carmelo Anthony himself:
Sources told ESPN.com that Knicks officials, while not willing to trumpet it publicly with free agency fast approaching, are quietly confident about their odds of retaining Anthony thanks in part to the idea that new team president Phil Jackson and the high-scoring forward have "connected" to some degree.
Knicks president Phil Jackson is planning to make a determined attempt to try to recruit Pau Gasol, his former center with the Lakers, a source says.
Furthermore, one source close to the process told ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne that Jackson is planning to make a determined attempt to try to recruit his former Los Angeles Lakers center Pau Gasol to replace the freshly traded Tyson Chandler alongside Anthony on the Knicks' front line, despite the fact New York is limited to offering Gasol less than $4 million for next season.
Gasol is about to turn 34 and, from the sound of things, kinda mailed it in last season. And he's a Philbuddy. So yeah, a short, relatively cheap deal (we're talking about a guy who made $20 million last season) sounds about right. If he commands any more than that, the Meloful Knicks aren't really in the running. I'd hope the Meloless Knicks wouldn't invest heavily in a 34 year-old either.
Unless Jackson's an exceptional salesman (which he might be!), I have trouble picturing the Gasol addition being a huge draw for Melo, but I can definitely see how a happy Pau, a new friend in Jose Calderon, Melo, and the Knicks' shooters could found a pleasing offense. And a horrid defense, but, well, you don't become a powerhouse in an instant.
But we're getting ahead of ourselves. Free Agency Target 1 is Melo, and I guess Free Agency Target Dos is Gasol until we hear about anyone else...like maybe Andrew Bynum or, I dunno, Shaq. Three days until that excitement starts for real.