Pau Gasol is one of the bigger names in NBA free agency for the summer of 2014 and there is some potential that he could reunite with his former head coach Phil Jackson and teammate Derek Fisher with the New York Knicks. ESPN.com’s Ramona Shelbourne is reporting that the Knicks are interested in signing Gasol at the mid-level exception, which would be a good move if the Spaniard decides to sign for that little of a price.
If the Knicks can pull this off, how much can Gasol help them in the short term?
There are a lot of positives to this move. First, Gasol has worked with Knicks head coach Fisher and team president Jackson on the Los Angeles Lakers, where they won two titles together. Gasol, a skilled passing big man, thrives in Jackson’s triangle offense and could help serve as an on the court teacher for the players who are learning the ropes. He would provide depth to the Knicks roster that is lacking post talent. Center Samuel Dalembert and forward Amar’e Stoudemire most likely would start on the current roster, but if Gasol was added on one can be used as a bench player, helping create what would be a solid veteran core of big men.
Gasol had a solid year offensively this past season for the Lakers, scoring 17.4 points, grabbing 9.7 rebounds and dishing out 3.4 assists per game in a struggling offense. With his ability to space the floor with his shot and pass the ball, he can help set up open jumpers and lanes to the basket for cutters and drivers to finish. He also has an array of post moves and would make him the number one post scoring option for this Knicks team.
The main concern would be if he could help a defense that ranked 24th in defensive efficiency. His impact on a poor Lakers’ defense, which ranked 28th in that same stat, was minimal. He did manage to block 1.5 shots per game, but he wasn’t as engaged as he has been in the past. That also could be because this was one of the worst teams in Laker history and his name was thrown around in trade rumors all season. If he finds the right situation, maybe he will step his game up.
That brings up a huge question, are the New York Knicks the right situation for Gasol?
Well, he knows that Fisher and Jackson are winners and will find a way to do so soon, but as a 33 year old veteran, Gasol would most likely want to play for a winning team as soon as possible. With the Knicks current roster, that might not be the case, so Jackson and Fisher would have to do some convincing to get Gasol to join on, especially if Carmelo Anthony doesn’t return to the Big Apple. Not only that, but the Knicks wouldn’t have a lot of money for him, so if he wants more money they wouldn’t be his top option.
This would be an interesting move for both parties and ultimately it will come down to if Pau Gasol thinks the Knicks can win or not. This is a guy that has been one of the best bigs in the league in recent years and was able to win two titles. At this point in his career, winning more is probably the main focus. If Phil Jackson, Derek Fisher and company can do enough to lure him in, this move will pay huge dividends in transitioning to the triangle offense and making the New York Knicks a contender in the Eastern Conference.