With the NBA’s 2015 free-agency pool nearly bereft of poachable talent, Gasol has long been viewed as the summer’s top prize. You can’t see LaMarcus Aldridge leaving Portland, or Goran Dragic abandoning Miami, or even Kevin Love spitting in LeBron James’ face. You also cannot deem a player like Rajon Rondo a top prize anymore. Sure, he may leave Dallas, but he’s not a star these days. His skill set—a ball-dominant playmaker with no jumper—is obsolete at the point guard position.
That’s left Gasol, the 30-year-old big man who’s having the best season of his career. It’s been difficult to imagine him leaving Memphis as well, but still, if the Grizzlies don’t win the championship, there could be a chance he seeks greener pastures and a bigger market.
And while plenty of teams reportedly have interest, one stands out more than most: New York. Gasol is perfect for whatever half-assed version of the triangle Phil Jackson’s Knicks are trying to run. He can pass and score out of the post, has long-two range and polices the paint with Defensive Player of the Year enthusiasm. Imagine what he and Carmelo Anthony could do together.
Actually, stop imagining.
It ain’t happening. Apparently.
From Sheridan Hoops’ Chris Sheridan:
He probably isn’t going anywhere, either. And a little birdie who knows of what he speaks tells me Gasol has already ruled out playing for the New York Knicks. It’s nothing personal with Phil Jackson or that consummate New Yorker, Jim Dolan (gag). It’s a matter of money. He can get a five-year deal to stay in Memphis, where he attended high school. After taxes, that will be worth more than twice what he would get from New York.
Sorry, Knicks apologists. But hey, at least the primary reasons listed don’t include the Knicks sucking. Then again, that’s probably right up there.
Why leave a comfy spot and a team that’s winning for the hustle and bustle of New York? Why take less money over fewer years? Why roll the dice on a rebuilding project that’s showing no signs of progress?
Those are questions every premier free agent, not just Gasol, will be asking themselves this summer. Most of them will invariably turn away, leaving the Knicks high and dry. The ones that show legitimate interest will be those who, perhaps, aren’t fielding better offers elsewhere.
The Knicks desperately need to hope this isn’t the case. They need to land at least one other star without overpaying in the process if they wish to rebound quickly and have a real shot at Kevin Durant in 2016.
Here, then, is to them making a push for Paul Millsap.