When Hall-of-Fame head coach Phil Jackson took over as president of the New York Knicks, he had a plan.
Jackson was hoping that star forward Carmelo Anthony would opt into his contract with the Knicks and they wouldn’t have to worry about courting him. That way, they could let the contracts of big men Tyson Chandler, Amar’e Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani expire after next season. However, now that Anthony is a free agent and has visited the Chicago Bulls, Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers, Jackson has changed his plans. He dealt Chandler and point guard Raymond Felton to the Dallas Mavericks and is now looking to unload Stoudemire.
Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders confirms the Knicks are trying to convince a team to take on Stoudemire and the Knicks are attempting to clear enough cap space to afford Anthony and another top tier free agent right now.
It would get the Knicks to around $35 million in guaranteed commitments for this season (before re-signing Carmelo Anthony), but I’ve heard that they are also trying to trade Andrea Bargnani, which would obviously free up even more cap room. It certainly seems like Phil Jackson is trying to unload contracts in an effort to make some splashy moves this summer, rather than waiting until the summer of 2015 to start making moves.
Of course, even if the Knicks do clear space, it may be too little, too late, at least for this year. That, however, isn’t a bad thing. Memphis Grizzlies’ center Marc Gasol, Portland Trail Blazers’ power forward LaMarcus Aldridge, Minnesota Timberwolves’ power forward Kevin Love and Charlotte Hornets’ big man Al Jefferson can all become free agents a year from now.