Tap here to access our NBA Tracker, which includes offseason rumors, trades and signings.
A step or two behind the storm created by LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, free agent power forward Pau Gasol is being courted by a number of high-profile teams, chiefly the New York Knicks.
Knicks president Phil Jackson is at the head of the Gasol recruiting committee, attempting to sell the Spaniard on a number of factors in the Knicks' favor.
Good friend and new Knicks point guard Jose Calderon has reportedly reached out to Gasol about the possibilities in the Big Apple, and Jackson trotted out the lure of playing alongside Anthony.
“[Gasol] knows what he has here and what is possible,’’ Jackson told the New York Post. “He’d like to play with Carmelo and like to play with a winner. We can’t guarantee that, but with him we can guarantee a much better chance.’’
While the Knicks don't quite have the cap space a number of Gasol's other suitors boast, Jackson has a trick or two up his sleeve to turn things his way.
“We’d like to be in the ballpark on where he’s getting contracts offered,’’ Jackson said. “I anticipate it’s going to be somewhere … $10 million [from the Lakers]. We don’t have that kind of money. We have what Pau needs — the United Nations.’’
Gasol works for the UN, and has been the UNICEF ambassador for Spain since 2003.
"Pretty soon he’ll be secretary of the United Nations and his career is headed that way and this is a great platform for you," Jackson said. "I don’t know if that’s going to buy him into New York or not, but we’d like him to be here.’’
If money isn't the object Gasol desires, it seems difficult for another team to put together a pitch that could contain so many emotional connections as the one the Knicks are trotting out. Along with Calderon, the Knicks employ Gasol's former teammate Derek Fisher as head coach, and Jackson himself was on the Lakers' bench for both of Gasol's two championship seasons.
With companionship and politics on the table, the possibility of re-joining the triangle offense, and enough cap space to possibly pay Pau's brother Marc Gasol in 2015, the Knicks have to be considered a serious potential landing space for the 34-year-old big man.