Carmelo Anthony, Pau Gasol

Optimism is important, and the New York Knicks seem to be filled with it at the moment, both in believing that they’ll eventually get to keep Carmelo Anthony and provide Pau Gasol, who is looking for another championship ring, with enough of an incentive to sign with them and not the long list of teams that seem more suitable.

The Knicks aren’t being bombastic about their attempts to keep Anthony, but sources suggest that due to some sort of connection Phil Jackson and Carmelo Anthony have made, they feel very confident that the meeting with the Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets and the Dallas Mavericks won’t be enough to trump what they’re offering him. Which is what? More moeny: $129 million for five years, and playing in the Madison Square Garden, with the hope of Phil Jackson being convincing enough to change their current situation.

But Jackson tried convincing Anthony to opt in to his $23.3 million option this season and Anthony went against it. He wanted to test free agency because as much as he loves New York and is interested in keeping his family in one place instead of travelling, the hunger for being on a title contenting team, with the allure of playing next to Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah being the stronger attraction at the moment, even if it means making more money.

The Knicks can offer Anthony a max contract, but they’re hoping he takes less. Which starts hurting their whole wall of optimism front. Jackson has said a number of times they want Anthony committed to winning. In short? We want him to take less money so we can add more players, because Anthony as a leading man isn’t going to be enough, especially when he’s getting paid leading man money. Anthony is expected to make his decision by the second week of July.

We have every confidence that Carmelo is good for what his word is, that he wants to be in New York, he likes playing in New York, he wants to compete, he wants to be part of a playoff team that is competitive toward a championship. We haven’t come to that. But the perception is we want Carmelo to be as interested in winning. When saying he’s competitive and wants to be on a competitive team to also being able to demonstrate that if push comes to shove in a situation where he may have to take a little bit less and we’re more competitive to bring in another player to help us bring this concept along.

How does Gasol fit in to this? Pau Gasol wants to be put in a situation where he can contend for a third championship ring. That’s not going to happen with the New York Knicks this season. Maybe next year, but that’s hard to say. The Knicks don’t have too much money to offer as well. They can give Gasol, who is going to take a serious reduction to his salary which was $19 million last season, their midl-level exception, which goes under $4 million a season.

Optimism is great. New York City is the biggest market in the United States. Carmelo Anthony loves the city. Phil Jackson certainly makes it a more appealing place to play in. But Anthony is the only player the Knicks can offer money to this season that beats other competitors. There isn’t anything else for them to offer, which means that despite being strangely optimistic, the likelihood of a happy ending isn’t that great.

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