Marc Gasol gave the Knicks and their fans at least a little hope that they could be in the running for his services when he becomes a free agent this summer.
Gasol said before Monday night's game that he hasn't ruled out any team in free agency. And when he reflected on the frigid All-Star Weekend last month in New York, the Grizzlies center said, "I don't mind the cold.''
Few believe Gasol will leave Memphis, though. The Grizzlies can pay him the most money and he's already the centerpiece on a contender.
Actually, Gasol was just being smart when he said, "I haven't ruled anything out because I haven't thought about anything.'' His focus is on this season and getting the Grizzlies as far as possible in the postseason.
Memphis clinched a playoff spot for the fifth straight season and reached 50 wins for the third consecutive year with a 103-82 victory over the Knicks at the Garden. Langston Galloway's 19 points led the Knicks (14-57). Former Knick Zach Randolph scored 23 for Memphis (50-21).
Gasol, who had 21 points and eight rebounds, will be one of the most coveted free agents in July. There has been speculation that if he left Memphis -- the only NBA city he's called home after moving there when he was 16 -- it would be for San Antonio. But Gasol isn't thinking about his future yet.
"You guys know how hectic an NBA season is, and the truth is I haven't put any time or any thought in that,'' he said. "It can have no impact right now. It can't help me or my team. It's not the time.
"If it wasn't for you guys, I would not remember what's going to happen in July or I would not put any thought about it. Whenever it comes, it comes. Right now, I take my day-to-day stuff too seriously to be thinking about July just yet.''
The Knicks will have about $30 million this summer for free agency, which is where team president Phil Jackson said they will do most of their rebuilding. The Grizzlies can give Gasol about $30 million more than any other team can, and there is no state tax in Tennessee.
"I think the time will come, and whenever I make the decision, you guys will be not the first, but you guys will know,'' Gasol said.
LaMarcus Aldridge, Paul Millsap, Goran Dragic and Rajon Rondo are among the other big-name free agents. Versatile Pistons big man Greg Monroe has been linked to the Knicks and would be a good addition, but they will have a number of roster spots to fill.
The Knicks have an idea of whom they will pursue, and coach Derek Fisher expects to have input. He was a player last season and knows many of the impending free agents well.
"July's a long way away,'' Fisher said. "I do think there are tons of advantages to me being a first-year coach that did just finish playing the game, not just from a planning standpoint in terms of off the court and the culture and the way teams are being run now, but also on the court in terms of how the game's being played.''
Notes & quotes: Jose Calderon's season might be over. He had platelet-rich plasma treatment on his sore left Achilles Monday. Calderon, who last played Feb. 25, will be re-evaluated in 10 to 14 days. The season ends April 15.