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Report: Knicks to go after Pau Gasol, as if that will help keep Carmelo Anthony in New York

Jun 28, 2014, 2:04 AM EDT

New York Knicks v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

Phil Jackson has worked hard at establishing a relationship with Carmelo Anthony.

Jackson already has a relationship with free agent Pau Gasol, whom the Lakers traded for when Jackson was the coach and they went on to win two titles together.

The Knicks are banking on Phil’s relationship to keep Antony in blue and orange. So how about this leap: Gasol signs with the Knicks as part of a plan to help keep Anthony and in sooner? It’s a ridiculous long shot but the Knicks are thinking about it, reports Marc Stein at ESPNNewYork.com.

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.

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.

Anthony may or may not choose a return to New York, I don’t think he knows the answer to that yet. However, there are a multitude of reasons I don’t think Gasol to the Knicks happens. Here are a two key ones:

• Pau Gasol is going to get offered more than $4 million from other teams, a lot more, and he is not going to go to New York at a step discount. (There is a sign-and-trade option but the Knicks don’t have a lot of assets they would give up that the Lakers would want.)

• Anthony wants to win now and the Knicks, even if he comes back and they add Gasol, are not the best team in the East (let alone able to beat the best of the West). It’s going to be a process in New York. Anthony may choose to be the face of that process (and get paid handsomely) but Gasol isn’t as patient.

Gasol is going to be in the second tier of free agents, when teams that had dreams of Anthony (and maybe LeBron James) strike out Gasol will be one of the names they turn to. He will have options.

Gasol also struggled the last season and a half, looking old fast, but to me a lot of that is on Mike D’Antoni. Gasol is not a stretch four but the system coach that is D’Antoni does not easily adapt his system and that led to clashes with Gasol. It sucked the joy out of the game for Gasol. Look for a bounce back year from him — Gasol will represent Spain on its home soil in the World Cup, where he will rediscover his passion for the game, then next season he will play for a coach that uses him more wisely.

That is the one thing Phil Jackson knows how to do with Gasol. It’s just not enough to get him to the Knicks.

  1. bux1022 - Jun 28, 2014 at 5:18 AM

    Never underestimate PJ….he has already started on a good note. Getting into the draft with 3 picks we didn’t have and a trade that helps support the triangle!

    Big apple biz!

    • therealhtj - Jun 28, 2014 at 1:12 PM

      Suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuure. They’ve got the tax payer’s mid level exception – around 3.3 mil to offer. Now Pau’s a decent guy, but he was paid around 19mil a year for the last 3 years. Didn’t come close to earning it, but he’s at least worth a third to half that amount being a 7 footer who can walk and chew gum at the same time.

      In short, despite advancing age and a familiarity with Fish and PJ, AIN’T NO WAY dude is playing for 3mil. Besides, even with him, that squad is still a long way from seriously competing.

      Sorry for interrupting your stroll through fantasy land, Knicks fans. Now carry on.

      • urodaddy07 - Jun 28, 2014 at 6:17 PM

        Agreed. The other point is why take such a big pay cut to go to team that is going to be unlikely to contend?

      • Mr. Wright 212 - Jun 29, 2014 at 1:35 AM

        When you are under the cap, you are not a taxpayer. The full MLE is on the table.

      • therealhtj - Jun 30, 2014 at 10:45 AM

        Ah – so in your scenario Melo leaves, the rest of the roster is filled out with minimum contracts, and Pau Gasol agrees to play for 5 million. Sounds like a winning plan.

  2. sportsnut101 - Jun 28, 2014 at 5:44 AM

    Actually it should get it done gasol has been injured past 2yrs most likey will be a third
    But I rather see him in okc as the center for 4 mill then ny
    If he wants the ring

  3. sportsnut101 - Jun 28, 2014 at 5:46 AM

    got the perfect team for him n they have cap space
    Is the spurs him and duncan can share minutes perfect
    pop should get him at least for a yr

  4. cantonbound13 - Jun 28, 2014 at 5:48 AM

    With or without Melo we’ll be fine. I trust the Zen Master & his championship system. 20 years of coaching & 11 championships, no one has come close to those achievements. People can say he had Jordan, Kobe & Shaq but the fact is he replaced other coaches that didn’t win with the same stars. It’s all about the triangle baby!!!

  5. honkerdawg - Jun 28, 2014 at 6:19 AM

    Keep dream in’ NY

  6. officialgame - Jun 28, 2014 at 7:44 AM

    What’s the point when you are forever stuck in the middle of the pack or worse? The Knicks simply don’t have the patience it takes to blow things up and draft in the lottery.

    • mc310 - Jun 28, 2014 at 11:17 AM

      I’m not sure why people think it’s so easy for the Knicks to just blow it up. You can’t rebuild in New York – especially not with a $60 million president, a $2 billion dollar venue renovation and a team across the bridge to suck up all the casual and impatient fans. Would it be the best thing for the basketball team? Probably, but it’s just impractical at this point for the franchise. The best they can do is try to put a “competitive” team (there’s a difference between ‘competitive’ teams and ‘contenders’) and a decent product on the court every season, while keeping an eye on the future. I’m not saying this is all right, but that’s just the way it is in this town.

      • eugenesaxe1 - Jun 28, 2014 at 6:14 PM

        The Knicks are like the Lakers. They’re going to sell tickets if you run out a team of 15 one-legged midgets, because it’s the place to be if you’re anyone or think you are.

      • realfootballfan - Jun 28, 2014 at 7:25 PM

        Nor do you have to. Small market teams are the farm system for the big boys. When NBA fans come to grips with that, they’ll be able to watch the game with more enjoyment. If this was Milwaukee or something, he’d have to do all that. The Knicks problem has been since the Riley era making a mess of their cap situation with overpaid players and bad trades. Like right now, had they not done all of that silliness to sign Tyson Chandler and had a bit more foresight like the rest of the league on Stoudamire to why the Suns didn’t want to give him 5 years, knowing his knees wouldn’t last, they would be in prime position to team Carmelo and LBJ together right now because even though Pat Riley is great, Phil is better, and I think he is the one guy who could have swiped him from Miami. However, constantly changing management and philosophies makes this currently impossible going back to the Isiah Thomas era who seemingly got as long a leash as humanly possible to create his mess and the others have gotten 2 or 3 years max from Larry Brown, to the D’Antoni mess to this most recent thing with Grunfeld and Mike Woodson.

    • Mr. Wright 212 - Jun 29, 2014 at 1:36 AM

      We don’t allow rebuild projects here. Take that further down 95, even if it means being “stuck in the middle of the pack or worse.”

  7. charlutes - Jun 28, 2014 at 7:50 AM

    Hahahahahahaha dumbest franchise ever. Phil is an idiot.

  8. djlexluger - Jun 28, 2014 at 7:54 AM

    Looking at what the other teams offer I don’t see Melo “winning” with them either. The Rockets already scored a ton of points but couldn’t stop anyone from scoring more Melo won’t change that. The Bulls sounds nice but Derrick Rose and Melo can’t have the ball in their hands at the same time.

    • sportsfan18 - Jun 28, 2014 at 8:12 AM

      I’m NOT a Rockets fan but they were 12th in defense last season to go along with being 4th in offense.

      No, Melo would NOT help their team defense, especially adding him to Harden. Dwight is good but he’s not getting any younger and he isn’t the Dwight of years ago cleaning up others mistakes on D.

      If the Rockets could get a bit better on D, being in the top ten in BOTH team offense and defense means one isn’t far away.

      And, if you say the Rockets couldn’t stop anybody last season, what about the 18 teams below them in team defense then?

      the Miami Heat were 11th in the league last season in defensive efficiency at 102.9 and the Rockets were 12th at 103.1

      • Professor Fate - Jun 28, 2014 at 10:04 AM

        “the Miami Heat were 11th in the league last season in defensive efficiency at 102.9 and the Rockets were 12th at 103.1″

        Those numbers would fall with Anthony on the floor for any extended period.

        The Heat were blown out in the finals and the Rockets didn’t come close to getting there. Good job of proving djlexluger’s point.

      • hannsta - Jun 28, 2014 at 12:43 PM

        What about the 18 teams below them in defense? Well one of those teams knocked them out 4-2 in the first round.

    • elcapitanfiscal - Jun 28, 2014 at 1:13 PM

      If Melo is smart he will go to a great team with a great coach in Dallas

      If he doesnt go the Chicago.

    • alshonsmeathooks - Jun 28, 2014 at 2:42 PM

      they cant have the ball in their hands at the same time but with Melo when D Rose gets swarmed by all 5 defenders on a drive he has someone to kick it out to that knows how to make a bucket

  9. opinevain - Jun 28, 2014 at 8:47 AM

    It was given that Pau will be a target for NY. I like it.

  10. SBoy - Jun 28, 2014 at 9:47 AM

    Knicks will be far from the favorites to land Pau but not impossible. Pau talked about it in April here:

    http://espn.go.com/blog/new-york/knicks/post/_/id/56176/pau-gasol-interested-in-knicks

  11. themagicfanguy - Jun 28, 2014 at 9:50 AM

    Pau “struggled” the last year and a half? Considering he was in a system he didn’t fit and had a really bad team around him I’d say he did pretty dang good.

  12. ravenswhat - Jun 28, 2014 at 9:55 AM

    As if…? Or maybe Phil Jackson just wants a solid player?

  13. zinger92 - Jun 28, 2014 at 9:57 AM

    This is great, they can just pay an aging player big bucks to make an average team for the next 5 years and miss the lottery.

    • cruzan80 - Jun 28, 2014 at 11:14 AM

      They cant pay him “big bucks”.

      The most would be around $5 mil per. Thats what makes the odds of them signing him small. If he signs there, it would be an absolute steal for the Knicks.

  14. leearmon - Jun 28, 2014 at 9:58 AM

    I dont believe the Knicks’ plan is as simple as “Let’s get Pau, that will keep ‘Melo” I feel its a tad bit more nuanced than that. I think the Knicks are positioning themselves for Marc Gasol next offseason. Obviously Phil, Pau and Fisher have a relationship. Add to that Calderon’s relationship with Pau AND Marc from the Olympics and they are banking on that. If Melo returns — at a hometown discount (which is highly unlikely) all the better. However despite these “reports” I truly feel Melo is gone from NYC. And as many times as Phil keeps talking to the media about “How Melo should take less” The master of manipulation has to see Melo’s departure as the most likely outcome too.

    • 22yearsagotoday - Jun 28, 2014 at 10:10 AM

      “The Master of Manipulation” is still Zen.

    • Mr. Wright 212 - Jun 29, 2014 at 1:39 AM

      Melo is going nowhere.

  15. 88heatnation - Jun 28, 2014 at 10:29 AM

    The question is what’s the point

  16. bball242322 - Jun 28, 2014 at 10:34 AM

    step discount?

  17. cruzan80 - Jun 28, 2014 at 10:38 AM

    “I’m happy for him and the position that he got,” Gasol said, according to Yahoo!. “I’m always going to be a big fan and a friend. I would listen.”

    – Pau Gasol

    This was BEFORE they hired his former teammate Derrick Fisher and traded for his long time international Spain teammate Jose Calderon.

    Jackson said earlier this week after the Chandler trade “We’ve acquired players who fit our system.” After dealing with Jim Buss & D’antoni for the past 3 years this should come as music to Pau’s ears.

    Unless Pau is simply chasing money, I don’t see him turning down the man who made him a houshold name in this league by guiding him to 3 Finals & 2 titles.

    “Trust” is going to be the key word here for Pau.

    • therealhtj - Jun 28, 2014 at 4:16 PM

      Chasing money is one thing. Being asked to take an 80% paycut to go to a middling team is a whole other.

      • realfootballfan - Jun 28, 2014 at 7:36 PM

        It’s not going to be an 80% discount over what he’d get in the market. At this point in his career, I doubt he even can command $10 mil a year.

      • Mr. Wright 212 - Jun 29, 2014 at 1:39 AM

        It won’t be a middling team, no matter how often you and these hack writers keep trying to put it down.

  18. cantonb0und13 - Jun 28, 2014 at 10:41 AM

    I hate to be that guy but why is there always grammatical errors with these blogs? I don’t care if there’s grammatical errors in the comments section, but it’s you’re job to have the proper grammar when writing these blogs. Rant complete.

    • smoothaswilkes - Jun 28, 2014 at 12:02 PM

      It’s clear you don’t hate being that guy.

    • urodaddy07 - Jun 28, 2014 at 6:22 PM

      Hate to be that guy but “it’s you’re job” should really be “it’s your job”.

  19. darkcyde77 - Jun 28, 2014 at 11:39 AM

    The thing a lot of people are not thinking about when placing Melo on the Bulls is that Derrick Rose will be coming off his 2nd ACL injury…to his other leg. All the media and fans are talking like Rose will be back better than ever. Not for nothing didn’t Stoudimire have the same injuries and how did that work out. Melo.would be walking into the same situation. With that said can we let Phil Jackson do his thing and relax. No one said the Knicks trade with the Mavs which just about all media and most (objective) fans thought was a good move. Knicks picked up a pg upgrade over Felton, a 2nd year pg with a high ceiling, a defensive center, another serviceable sg, and 3 draft picks. Mind you before Phil, Knicks had nothing. So before we think he couldn’t talk Gasol into coming here shut up and let him do what he do.

  20. sportsfan18 - Jun 28, 2014 at 12:12 PM

    Pau to Phil… uh, you forgot the 1 in front of that 4 Phil… $14 million, not $4 million…

    Oh, the Knicks can’t spring for another $10 million? Dolan flushes $10 million every month

    How bout you pay me under the table from your vast wealth Phillip?

    You’re here in NYC so you can talk to the Russian… I’ll even take Rubles…

  21. imakcds - Jun 28, 2014 at 3:55 PM

    Pau Gasol is a marvelous ballplayer, but he NEEDS the big bruising horse on the frontline to free him up for his best work.
    Carmelo doesn’t do that, so that leaves only one left on the frontline, so he better be a serious tough guy, or it ain’t gonna work out.

    • Mr. Wright 212 - Jun 29, 2014 at 1:42 AM

      You clearly have not watched a single game Melo has played.

      Next.

  22. casualcommenter - Jun 28, 2014 at 5:47 PM

    Pau had an underrated season last year on offense, but he was a disaster on defense. Whether it was lack of effort or lost athleticism, he just can’t cover enough ground on defense to be effective.

    It’s going to be really hard for the Knicks to win a lot of games last year, even if they keep Carmelo, unless they have more than 3 players who can play above-average defense. Pau, Calderon, Stoudamire, Hardaway Jr. – where’s the defense? Shumpert and Dalembert can’t guard everybody.

    • casualcommenter - Jun 28, 2014 at 5:48 PM

      Typo – *next year, not last year

    • Mr. Wright 212 - Jun 29, 2014 at 1:44 AM

      They won 34 with everyone other than Melo having career worst seasons, and got younger and better at several positions.

      Do you even believe any of what you said?

  23. realfootballfan - Jun 28, 2014 at 7:16 PM

    I always wondered when Carmelo was in Denver if he would be a good centerpiece for the triangle offense. Now, I guess we’ll find out because I don’t think he’s leaving NY.

  24. gnu2308 - Jun 28, 2014 at 10:59 PM

    Why would he go to the Lakers for peanuts when he can go to whatever team Lebron is playing for … for peanuts and a chance at a ring.

  25. Mr. Wright 212 - Jun 29, 2014 at 1:33 AM

    Every time something is even REMOTELY beneficial to the Knicks, these hacks make some smarmy, underhanded comment in the headline. Just report the news and stop showing your blatant biases toward Miami.

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