Sources tell Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com that the Knicks are “quietly confident” they will be able to re-sign Carmelo Anthony, in part due to the star forward’s growing bond with president Phil Jackson. ‘Melo will be chased by teams that appear closer to a championship than New York in free agency, but the Knicks are hoping that their recent trade with the Mavericks, which provided an upgrade at point guard with Jose Calderon, will make their roster more appealing to Anthony.
With head coach Derek Fisher and the newly acquired point guard Calderon, Jackson has put in place some of the pieces for his cherished triangle offense. If Anthony re-signs in New York, one of the biggest remaining gaps for the system would be a skilled big man. The ESPN scribes’ source says that Jackson is planning on pursuing Pau Gasol at a discounted rate to fill that need this summer, and the team has its eye on his brother Marc Gasol for the 2015/16 season, when the Grizzlies center will be a free agent. Currently, the most the Knicks could offer Pau would be the taxpayer’s mid-level exception of $3.278MM, a steep pay decrease from his $19.3MM salary in 2013/14.
This summer will be a highly intriguing one for the Knicks. The hiring of Jackson brought hope to a franchise that has bumbled away opportunities and flexibility for years. Knicks fans have been hoping the Zen Master could work his magic and turn the Knicks’ straw to gold. While a typical turnaround for a franchise as limited as New York requires some losing and patience to regain cap space and assets, Jackson would certainly increase his legend if he could jump start the turnaround in his first year as a front office executive.