Keith Schlosser, Lead WriterThe clock struck twelve. Free agency has begun, and teams are off to the races.
Pau Gasol is a wanted man, and certainly in the best way possible. He’s expected to meet with teams like the Thunder, Warriors, and Bulls in the early goings. (Los Angeles Times, June 30).
There’s just one problem: the Knicks aren’t on Gasol’s short list for teams to meet. At least not on the first leg of his free agency tour, that is.
A bevy of other teams are expected to contact and express interest in Gasol, including the Lakers. One would think the Knicks may have an advantage with his former coach, Phil Jackson, serving as President and Derek Fisher, a former teammate, now the head coach in New York.
The Knicks are still expected to reach out in pursuit as well.
Nevertheless, the lack of urgency here (be it from either side, for that matter) may be a cause for concern.
As the Knicks look to retain the services of Carmelo Anthony, they are hoping some necessary improvements and the arrival of a secondary top notch quality player will be enough to convince him to stay. Of course, in order to reel Gasol in as part of that master plan, New York will also need to sell Gasol on playing in the Big Apple for a rather heavily discounted rate.
Ironically enough, the big man’s own respective outlook on how to deal with free agency may put a wrench in the Knicks’ plans. Gasol is reportedly looking to wait and see how things play out (with other top free agents like Anthony and LeBron James) before making a decision of his own.
As the Lakers’ forward waits for the chips to fall, it may be difficult for New York to convince Anthony to sign first without a commitment from Gasol. What comes first; the chicken or the egg?
It may be a smart business decision for Gasol to wait, but his arrival to the Knicks may turn out to be a pre-requisite to Anthony making his own respective return.