Hours before his final meeting with New York Knicks officials, free agent Carmelo Anthony reached out to obtain free agent Pau Gasol's phone number and discuss with him the possibility of playing together at Madison Square Garden, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

The Knicks had exuded an increasing confidence they can hold off the free-agent courtships of Chicago and Houston and were further encouraged with Anthony's desire to talk to Gasol about New York, sources said.

The Knicks have a core of leadership, including president Phil Jackson, coach Derek Fisher and point guard Jose Calderon, who have strong history and relationships with Gasol, and those factors would have to play a part in overcoming the fact the Knicks can pay Gasol only the taxpayer's exception starting at $3.28 million annually.

For now, Chicago and Oklahoma City are the most intriguing destinations to Gasol, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Gasol remains a serious target of the Miami Heat, too, sources told Yahoo Sports. Miami president Pat Riley plans to meet with Gasol in Los Angeles this weekend.

Gasol, 33, has been searching for a contract in the $10 million annual range, but hasn't ruled out the possibility of taking a deal in the midlevel exception range of $5.3 million annually, sources said.