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The interest is really real.

There was some talk of the Knicks reaching out to Mike D'Antoni despite his closeness with the Chicago Bulls. Turns out we're reaching out with fat stacks of cash in our hands. From ESPN:

The New York Knicks on Thursday outlined the lucrative parameters of a five-year deal they're prepared to give new No. 1 coaching target Mike D'Antoni, according to NBA coaching sources.

A rival proposal from the Chicago Bulls-- the team many still favor to land D'Antoni -- is expected by Sunday at the latest, sources said.

Although Knicks president Donnie Walsh, through a team spokesman, insisted Thursday night that the Knicks have not offered "anyone" a coaching contract, that might just be a technicality. Sources close to the process say D'Antoni, who celebrated his 57th birthday Thursday, has had advanced discussions with the Knicks about leaving the desert for Manhattan.

The Phoenix Suns' coach will naturally wait to hear what the Bulls present before continuing or breaking off his dialogue with New York, given his well-established interest in the Bulls' opening and his standing as Chicago's top choice.

But the latest estimates on the five-year package New York is prepared to formally put on the table fall in the $30 million range. Although that figure had been projected Wednesday by coaching sources to be even more "staggering," it's a level of annual compensation exceeded by only a few coaches in the game, such as Phil Jackson and recent coaching retiree Pat Riley.

ESPN The Magazine's Ric Bucher, quoting a source close to D'Antoni, reported on SportsCenter early Friday that D'Antoni is leaning toward taking the New York job.

It remains to be seen how high the Bulls are willing to go financially in comparison and how much security their pitch will afford. The Chicago Tribune reported in Thursday's editions the Bulls are determined to "pay D'Antoni only on their terms" and won't engage in a "protracted price war" with the Knicks.

What could be the logic behind this? Is D'Antoni really our top choice? Are we just toying with the Bulls? I will say that if D'Antoni's going to take that rumored hefty contract from us, he better be ready to grind. That cash won't look so pretty when he realizes he's got a team with no direction and no Steve Nash on his hands. The article goes on to say that Monday is a tentative date for D'Antoni to make a decision, so we'll sit tight until then.