The New York Knicks are one of the worst teams in the entire league at 4-18, and it doesn’t look like the immediate future will get much brighter. Fortunately for New York fans, there is always the long-term outlook as a source of hope.
It may seem unfathomable that a team featuring Carmelo Anthony could be 14 games under .500 through 22 contests, but that is the reality. This season may be a lost cause sooner rather than later, which means there are already rumors surrounding New York’s offseason plans.
With that in mind, read on for some of the latest buzz out of the Big Apple.
Marc Berman of the New York Post provided an update on the Knicks’ potential pursuit of Marc Gasol:
The Knicks are closer to landing Duke center Jahlil Okafor in the draft than they are to landing Memphis center Marc Gasol in free agency, according to an NBA source.
As the Knicks plummet to the bottom of the league, a source told The Post the club doesn’t believe its chances are too good of landing the Grizzlies stud center with their 2015 cap space — not that Knicks president Phil Jackson won’t try like mad.
New York could actually lose all of its big men because of expiring contracts this season, so there is a pressing need to add a center.
Berman notes that Memphis is one of the best teams in the league, and Gasol is putting up impressive numbers there and appears more than comfortable. Most importantly, the Grizzlies can offer an extra year (and $30 million) on any max contract. The winning and money may be hard to pass up.
It is a similar situation to the one that the Knicks found themselves in with Anthony this past offseason, only this time the Grizzlies are playing the role of the hometown team that can offer more on a max deal, while the Knicks assume the position the Chicago Bulls were in trying to lure Anthony with a shorter deal.
A Gasol and Anthony combination would likely be good enough with the right supporting cast to reach the playoffs in the wide-open Eastern Conference, but Knicks fans may never see that possibility unfold.
If the Knicks strike out on Gasol and don’t land someone like Jahlil Okafor in the draft, Shams Charania of RealGM noted that they could have their eye on another big man:
Several NBA teams had pitched sign-and-trades scenarios to the Pistons’ front office, but Van Gundy responded with a turn-off: The president and coach requested All-Star caliber players in return, league sources told RealGM. …
Monroe signed a one-year qualifier and will likely walk in free agency in the offseason. He discussed his position and the Pistons’ response, via Charania:
There were a few teams that were serious, but that’s in the past now. The Pistons were very much within their rights to do what they did. It’s a business, so they chose to do what was best for them. Stan’s been great and his NBA track record is proven. He’s had a lot of success in this league.
For me, I think there’ll be more freedom this time around.
The Knicks are hoping that freedom leads to Madison Square Garden, especially since they will have the cap flexibility to present Monroe with a maximum-salary deal. The only real question is whether Monroe is the type of unselfish and effective passer that is needed down low in the triangle.
Monroe is certainly not the perfect fit that Gasol, who is always comfortable finding teammates from the elbow or low block, would be, but he is a walking double-double threat every time he takes the floor. He is averaging 14.3 points and 9.3 rebounds a night this year for the Detroit Pistons and is only 24 years old.
His best days are likely still ahead of him, which is critical for the rebuilding efforts occurring in New York the next couple of seasons.
The Knicks are going to need impact big men next year, and landing one of the league’s best young centers would be a major step in the right direction.
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