If any NBA executive is interested in trading for players on the Knicks’ roster, Phil Jackson is willing to listen.
“I don't think it's any secret that everybody that we have on our roster is up for discussion, if we have other teams call us up,” the Knicks president said on Friday. “I mean, we have players that are free agents in Amar’e [Stoudemire], Andrea [Bargnani], Carmelo [Anthony], Tyson [Chandler], guys that are in situations that are not to be discussed. But the roster that we have beyond that is open for discussion. And if people call up, want to talk about it, we'll discuss it with them.”
Jackson mentioned Stoudemire, Bargnani and Chandler because those players are entering the final year of their contracts. The Knicks would like to let those contracts expire in order clear cap space for the summer of 2015. The market for those players may be stronger closer to the trade deadline because any team acquiring Chandler, Bargnani or Stoudemire would be responsible for only the remainder of their salaries, not the full salary.
But If Jackson gets an offer for the players mentioned above, that benefits the team, he probably wouldn’t hesitate to strike a deal.
Jackson said Friday that he would not be opposed to taking on salary this summer –- and impact the Knicks’ cap space for the summer of 2015 –- if he was presented with the right trade.
“It has to be part of a discussion,” Jackson said of taking the Knicks’ cap space in 2015 into consideration while making moves this summer. “But if we get back what we think we need to fill out the character and the type of player that we want to have, we’re going to go forward with it anyway. We’re not the only team that [is] going to be chasing these players [in 2015]. We have to understand that. We might feel that we have one of the best places in the world to play, but people are susceptible to their backgrounds and where they’re from and families, etc. We understand that, chasing free agency, this team has been through it.”
Speaking of free agents, the Knicks, of course, would listen to sign-and-trade offers for Anthony if they have assurances that he has ruled out re-signing with New York.
Jackson has also made it clear in the past that he won't hesitate to shake up the roster this summer, if the right opportunity presents itself. In a speech after the final game of the regular season, Jackson told the players that there will be personnel changes this summer.
“He said that there’s going to be changes, some of us won’t be in this room next year,” said a Knicks player who heard Jackson’s address.
Jackson said on Friday that he hasn’t told any of the Knicks directly that he’s looking to trade them.
According to a league source, the Knicks president told Raymond Felton during exit meetings that he would consider trading him in the offseason.
Jackson denied that on Friday.
“We're telling players, get yourself ready, start a 10 to 12 week program of exercise, weight training, conditioning so when you come back here you're not trying to get in shape in September. You are in shape so you're play in October. That's the message we've given,” Jackson said.
Question: If you were Jackson, which Knicks would you look to trade this summer?
You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.