The New York Knicks could have their star back at Madison Square Garden after all. Better yet, the team might end up with a new dynamic duo in its front court as a result.
Forward Carmelo Anthony opted out of his contract with the Knicks last week, making him an unrestricted free agent. Anthony will meet with the Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers after he becomes a free agent on July 1. According to ESPN, though, New York is optimistic about retaining Anthony.
Knicks team president Phil Jackson is looking to add a new center to the mix to make the Knicks a more enticing spot for Anthony after New York traded its big man Tyson Chandler along with point guard Raymond Felton to Dallas earlier this week. To replace Chandler’s presence on the inside, Jackson is reportedly looking toward Pau Gasol.
Jackson and Gasol have a good history together, as the pair won two NBA championships with the Lakers. Much maligned for his lack of defensive effort last season, Gasol averaged 17.4 points per game for a struggling Lakers team that failed to make the postseason. Compare that to Chandler, who scored just 8.7 points per contest and was injured for a good portion of the season.
If Gasol were to come to the Knicks, he would get paid less than $4 million per season, which would be a significant pay cut from the almost $20 million he made last year. New York’s first target is Anthony, though, and Jackson said it’s unclear whether he will return to the Knicks.
“It’s a big question because there are so many things that can happen out there,” Jackson said, via ESPN. “We really don’t know. With LeBron getting in this free agency… we don’t know what all that means.”
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