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Report: Knicks plan to pursue Pau Gasol

By Matt Moore | NBA writer

The majestic, talented, usually-in-a-suit Pau Gasol.    (USATSI)
The majestic, talented, usually-in-a-suit Pau Gasol. (USATSI)

More Offseason Analysis: Coaching changes, news | Free Agency | Draft | Rumors

ESPN reports that one reason the Knicks are so confident they can get Carmelo Anthony back in the fold is that they may be able to bring in unrestricted free agent and former star Pau Gasol.

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.

via New York Knicks like Carmelo Anthony chances, eye Pau Gasol - ESPN New York.

I mean, that's one way to go about trying to rebuild the franchise, by pursuing players who are definitively not the player they were five years ago. Gasol's numbers are still great, though. 19.4 points per game and 9.7 rebounds per game despite his age, injury, and athleticism limitations. He also logged 3.4 assists and is still a gifted passer. Offensively, Pau is still a top-level performer.

Defensively, he's kind of a mess, based on his diminishing lateral quickness, a lack of bulk and a finesse game that can suffer as opponents are consistently more athletic than him now. He shot 54 percent from the field in the last year he won a championship under Jackson in LA, and just 48 percent last season.

Still, if he can be had at a discount, it gives them a name, and names matter to Anthony. An Anthony-Gasol team with any surrounding talent is likely good enough to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference.

Gasol turns 34 next month.

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