NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — If Phil Jackson gets his way, the Knicks will be contenders on paper a lot quicker than many first thought.
And he might get a statue erected in his honor at the same time.
The popular theory has been Jackson wants to re-sign Carmelo Anthony with his eyes on the 2015 free agency signing period, when the Knicks should be in much better position salary cap-wise to make impact moves. That is also the reason why Jackson has stressed Anthony be true to his word and take less to return to the Knicks.
But that might not be how it all plays out. Jackson may be thinking that with a little luck he can sign Anthony to a max contract and still be able to court another star player to Madison Square Garden this offseason.
According to an SNY report, Jackson is trying to pull off the Herculean task of trading both Amar’e Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani to free up the type of space needed to put someone significant next to Anthony or, if he walks, allow the Knicks to retool with multiple stars.
The Knicks have apparently engaged the Philadelphia 76ers about Stoudemire and recently rejected a trade that involved Bargnani, because the proposed deal included coveted shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr., SNY reported.
If Jackson is able to jettison both Stoudemire and Bargnani he would rid the Knicks of a combined $34.9 million commitment and put them in the neighborhood of $40 million under the NBA’s projected $63 million cap, SNY reported.
Jackson has already pulled off one big trade this season, shipping aging Tyson Chandler and ineffective Raymond Felton to the Dallas Mavericks for a package that included veteran point guard Jose Calderon.
Battling back from back and knee injuries that cost him a slew of games over the last few years, Stoudemire averaged 11.9 points and shot nearly 56 percent from the floor in 65 games last season. For his career, the 31-year-old power forward is averaging 20.4 points and 8.3 rebounds, and is shooting 53.5 percent from the floor.
Acquired from the Toronto Raptors last offseason, Bargnani averaged 13.3 points in 42 games for the Knicks in 2013-14. The 7-footer from Italy is averaging 15 points over his eight-year career.
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