The New York Knicks are going to have a new look in 2014-15. They have Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher running the show with Carmelo Anthony coming back to be the star of it all. Currently, the team is looking better on paper heading into this season as opposed to what they showed last season, but they will not be able to make any more massive adjustments until this season ends.
With bigger contracts like Amar’e Studemire and Andrea Bargnani soon to be off the books in the summer, the Knickerbockers will have the opportunity to go shopping in the summer of 2015 for some big-time talent. One player they will most likely take a look at is big man Marc Gasol. I think there is a pretty good chance he will end up on their roster, too.
You might be saying, why? Gasol plays for the Memphis Grizzlies, a team that actually made the playoffs last year and has a solid squad setup, unlike the Knicks. He won a Defensive Player of the Year Award there and probably likes it there. But this move truly does make a lot of sense for both parties.
First and foremost, you don’t need to look any further than the front office. President Jackson, coincidentally, coached Marc’s brother Pau on two NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers teams. That has to be pretty enticing for Marc, who saw his brother play some of the best ball of his career and reach basketball immortality two years in a row. With one of his brother’s teammates on those teams leading the way at head coach, the deal is almost sealed right there. It has to cross his mind that he, an intelligent big man entering his prime at 29, could play a similar role in the famed triangle offense that his brother did and have some of the best years of his career with these guys too.
There are another couple of selling points that will have Gasol’s eyes popping out when thinking about going to New York. One is the presence of his friend and fellow Spaniard José Calderón. The recently acquired point guard is a talented player who will fit into the offense perfectly, and he has the ability to help influence Gasol to join in. The other is Anthony. Since he will be the star of the team, free agents-to-be will be looking to see how he fits in with the new system and what it looks like. If Anthony comes out and has one of the best seasons of his already solid career, it will be hard for anybody, including Gasol, to turn down an opportunity to play in the Big Apple.
Not only could Gasol benefit from going to the Knicks, but the Knicks could benefit from getting Gasol. With a horrible defense last year and the departure of their own rim protector and defensive MVP Tyson Chandler, the Knicks could use a replacement. His 14.2 points per game last season were higher than any other Knick big man on their roster and Chandler. He can help bring in a new and improved defensive attitude. His passing ability as a big man (3.6 assists per game last season) will be a huge help in the triangle offense and will help improve the team’s passing that ranked 28th in assists per game in 2014.
With that being said, it will be difficult for Gasol to look at other options and say they are better. He needs them, and they need him. It is a great city to be a part of and is in the easier Eastern Conference. If Gasol made this move, he would be part of a team with a lot of great basketball minds and some pretty good talent to go along with it. In the summer of 2015, look for Marc Gasol to join the Knicks and help them do some pretty cool things after that.