Hours before his final meeting with New York Knicks officials, free agent Carmelo Anthony reached out to obtain free agent Pau Gasol's phone number and discuss with him the possibility of playing together at Madison Square Garden, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
The Knicks had exuded an increasing confidence they can hold off the free-agent courtships of Chicago and Houston and were further encouraged with Anthony's desire to talk to Gasol about New York, sources said.
Anthony has enjoyed meeting with teams all week, and Knicks president Phil Jackson "risked trouble if he played it too cool" on Thursday, according to Yahoo Sports. Gasol reportedly is most intrigued by the Chicago Bulls and Oklahoma City Thunder, and New York can only offer him a contract starting at $3.3 million per season. He reportedly wants one starting at around $10 million.
If you're the Knicks, and you want Anthony back, this is great news. Even though he's been impressed by other teams' presentations, he's actually recruiting potential teammates to join him at MSG. Gasol still has a lot to offer on offense, and he'd be a great fit if they're playing the triangle. New York needs a serious makeover after the disaster that was last season, and Gasol needs a change of scene after a couple of unhappy years in Los Angeles. He'd obviously be comfortable working with Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher.
Just how good would this make the Knicks, though? They were 24th in defensive efficiency last season, per Basketball-Reference, and they just traded Tyson Chandler. Is Gasol going to be asked to protect the rim now? That would be a bad idea. He's turning 34 in three days, and he'd be a good value signing, but New York would still have a long way to go.