Let the selling and spending begin, and for Phil Jackson there will be an emphasis on selling.

The Knicks president has money to spend. The free-agent negotiation period begins at a minute past midnight with Jackson armed with nearly $27 million -- half of which could go to Pistons center Greg Monroe.

Spreading that $27 million among three starting-caliber free agents is the goal. Jackson has to sell them on his vision of how to turn the 17-win Knicks into a contender quickly, and do it with the triangle offense, which has more than its share of critics.

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"We have to go out there and make the challenge and make the promise and make the hopes for somebody else to come here," Jackson said.

It's no secret the Knicks need to address the center and power forward spots, and all signs point to the 24-year-old Monroe joining them.

There are sexier names, including All-Stars Marc Gasol, LaMarcus Aldridge and Kevin Love, and Clippers center DeAndre Jordan. Jackson, general manager Steve Mills and coach Derek Fisher will meet with Aldridge and Jordan, but the Knicks are considered long shots for both.

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The Spurs and Lakers are said to be front-runners for Aldridge. The Spurs reportedly were sending coach Gregg Popovich, Tim Duncan and Tony Parker to meet with Aldridge. It's hard to beat that recruiting Big Three.

The Mavericks and Clippers are believed to have the lead for Jordan. Gasol and Love are expected to re-sign with Memphis and Cleveland, respectively. That could leave Monroe as the big man the Knicks land in free agency.

Other teams, including the Celtics, Lakers, Bucks and Blazers, have interest in Monroe. But his future has been tied to the Knicks all year, and his agent, David Falk, who represented Michael Jordan, has a long-standing relationship with Jackson.

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"We are not commenting on anything until something happens," Falk said.

The Knicks also need shooting and depth on the perimeter. Portland swingman Arron Afflalo, a former teammate of Anthony's in Denver, North Babylon's Danny Green of the Spurs, Portland's Wesley Matthews, and Atlanta's DeMarre Carroll could be in play.

Anyone the Knicks pursue knows they will not be the focal point of the offense. That person is Anthony, who reportedly has and will continue to make recruiting phone calls.

Playing with Anthony may not be so appealing to some free agents because he's a scorer who isn't known for making his teammates better.

But Jackson believes his offense is an equal-opportunity system, and he has 11 rings as a coach and Fisher five as a player to prove it.

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Jackson will seek out players who fit their system and their needs. Monroe is a good fit for the triangle because of his shooting and passing skills.

The Knicks would like to sign a defensive-minded big man too, which is why they're meeting with Jordan. But Blazers big man Robin Lopez or New Orleans' Omer Asik would be a cheaper and perhaps more realistic answer.

Power forward David West makes sense for the Knicks, but playing for a contender at this stage of the 34-year-old's career seems the more likely route for him.