NEW YORK -- Marc Gasol said on Monday morning that he hasn't ruled out the New York Knicks as a potential free-agent destination because he hasn’t seriously considered his options yet.
“I haven’t ruled anything out because I haven’t thought about anything so it would be [premature],” Gasol told a small group of reporters after the Grizzlies' morning practice at Madison Square Garden. “The reports and stuff like that, I don’t know where they come from because in my mind I haven’t thought about it. I have no [idea] how they can go there. I don’t know. ... We’re in the final stretch of the regular season and we want to get in a good feeling for the playoffs so, trust me, I’m not worrying or thinking about those things yet.”
Sheridan Hoops reported earlier this month that Gasol wouldn't consider the Knicks because of the financial implications. Gasol can make more money if he remains in Memphis instead of signing elsewhere.
If he re-signs with the Grizzlies, Gasol can ink a max contract that starts at around $18 million in the first season with 7.5 percent raises in each season thereafter. If he signed with the Knicks or any other club, his max contract would be for four years starting at around $18 million in the first season with annual raises of 4.5 percent.
Gasol noted on Monday that the tanking Knicks (14-56) are going through the same painful process that Memphis went through earlier in his career.
“I know what [the Knicks] are trying to accomplish as a team, but like I said we’re trying to accomplish the same thing in Memphis and we’re trying to get to have a chance to go for a ring,” Gasol said. “I see this [Knicks] team being in the same spot we were six or seven years ago when we were winning 20 games and we were trying to create something for the future.”
Most believe that Gasol will stay in Memphis because he went to high school in the city and has grown into a star while with the organization.
Gasol was asked how his history with Memphis will factor in his decision this summer.
"I don’t know what factors will play into my decision but the factors that are there today, you can’t change the past," Gasol said. "You can’t change where I’ve been for the majority of my life as an adult. I came to Memphis when I was 16. My family’s been tied to the franchise since the franchise has been in Memphis. You can’t change that.
"I don’t know what the future holds but I know what the past and the present is. I think that’s pretty clear and we’ll see how it goes going forward we’ll see what factors go into my decision. I haven’t put them down or written them down or even thought about them because I think there’s no time. Like I said, it’s just not a process you can go through in the season."
The Knicks are expected to have at least $25 million in cap space this summer. That’s enough money to offer Gasol -- or any of the other marquee free agents in the Class of 2015 -- a max contract. Many see Gasol as a perfect fit for Phil Jackson's triangle because of his ability to pass, knock down a jump shot and produce in the post.
But team president Jackson has publicly expressed a reluctance to handing out max contracts. So the Knicks may instead choose to target second-tier players this summer and go after a marquee player in the summer of 2016, when the salary cap increases.