Pau Gasol may not be quite the player he once was, but he's still an attractive free agent drawing interest from several contenders. The Heat, Spurs, Bulls and Thunder have all reportedly shown interest in Gasol, but his ultimate destination may be determined by which team Carmelo Anthony chooses. Anthony has talked to Gasol about playing together in New York, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports while Marc Stein of ESPN reported Gasol may choose his next team only after seeing where Anthony lands.
Could Anthony and Gasol be a package deal in New York, Los Angeles or somewhere else? Let's take a closer look and the possibility.
Why this makes sense
With Anthony and Gasol having already talked about the possibility of playing together, it would appear there is mutual interest. According to a report from ESPN, the Lakers' pitch to Anthony will focus heavily on the idea of playing with Kobe Bryant and Gasol. The 33-year-old Gasol may not be the perennial all-star he once was, but he still nearly averaged a double-double last season and is one of the best passing big men in the NBA, a trait that makes him a very attractive teammate to a scorer like Anthony. Gasol may have made enough money during his career where at this stage, he's chasing a contender rather than another paycheck. Joining Anthony would ensure Gasol continues to play with a superstar in the prime of his career. In New York, that would also mean teaming up with Jose Calderon, his teammate on the Spain national team, and reuniting with Phil Jackson.
Why this doesn't make sense
Gasol doesn't need to follow Anthony to play for a contender. The Thunder, Spurs, Bulls and Heat among other teams are interested and pose as good, if not a better, opportunity to contend for a championship next season. Even if Anthony returned to New York and joined Calderon, the Knicks still may not have the pieces to contend for a championship. If Gasol is solely focused on winning, he may be better suited to sign with the Thunder, Spurs or Heat if the LeBron James returns to Miami. There is also the issue of money. The Knicks would have limited funds to work with. The Spurs, Heat, Bulls and Thunder would be in similar situations financially. If Gasol takes the biggest contract on the table, it's unlikely to be in New York.
Where there is smoke, there is often fire and Gasol has been tied heavily to Anthony in recent days. If Anthony lands back in New York and Gasol is willing to take a lesser contract, the rumors could hold a lot of weight. Stein reported there would be heavy pull coming from the Knicks with Jackson and Calderon recruiting. Gasol is familiar with Knicks head coach Derek Fisher, having played with him with the Lakers. Gasol thrived under Jackson running the triangle offense and while New York may not run the exact offense, many of the principles are likely to be similar, making for a great fit. Let's peg this at a 6 out of 10 on the likelihood scale.