GREENBURGH, N.Y. - Phil Jackson said he expected the Knicks to be "busy" leading up to Thursday's NBA trade deadline, and that "surprisingly" they have enough assets to do something.
But the Knicks president said there hasn't been much of a market for Jose Calderon and Andrea Bargnani -- two players the Knicks hope to move to clear salary and bring back someone who can help their rebuilding efforts.
"We're trying to do both," Jackson said Wednesday at the team's training facility. "If not, then what? If we can get more cap room, great. If not, can we add a player that's going to be a substantial addition to our team in the process so we don't have to add so many team members when we come back next fall?"
That's what Jackson and his staff have to sort out by 3 p.m.
Young guards Tim Hardaway Jr. and Shane Larkin could draw some interest, and the Knicks have two trade exceptions worth roughly $6 million and $2.5 million that Jackson said have some value.
"Surprisingly we seem to have enough to cover what we are looking for," Jackson said. "I think we do. Our only big contract besides Carmelo [Anthony]'s is Andrea's right now and no one seemed to jump to that right away."
The Suns are listening to offers for impending free-agent guard Goran Dragic, who reportedly listed the Knicks among the teams he would like to join. The next time the Knicks can trade a first-round pick is 2018, so they probably don't have the assets to get Dragic.
But without mentioning any names Jackson said "we want to be in the conversation" before admitting, "I don't know how serious we can be about it."
The Knicks have been looking to move Pablo Prigioni and Calderon, who is owed $15.1 million over the next two seasons, and are expected to try until the deadline. But Jackson said the Knicks may need Calderon's floor leadership now that Anthony's season is over and Amar'e Stoudemire is with the Mavericks.
"He's going to have to do some of that leadership that we anticipate," Jackson said. "Is there a hue and cry for Jose from other teams in a trade possibility? No. There's not that. And we're not out selling Jose stickers to passing cars."
It's unclear where Bargnani fits going forward. It's been speculated that the Knicks would buy out Bargnani if they can't move him. But Jackson called that "debatable" and went on to say the Knicks might need his scoring now.
"Now that we have a gap in scoring, this is a guy that is a natural scorer," Jackson said. "I think the coaching staff would like to have him on the court and be competitive with his scoring capabilities without Carmelo and Amar'e there."
The Dolan family owns controlling interests in the Knicks, Madison Square
Garden and Cablevision. Cablevision owns Newsday.