Carmelo Anthony announced his decision to return to the New York Knicks with a heartfelt letter on his website thisismelo.com.
In the end, I am a New York Knick at heart. I am looking forward to continuing my career in Orange & Blue, and to working with Phil Jackson, a champion who builds championship teams. Madison Square Garden is the mecca of basketball and I am surrounded by the greatest fans in the world.
The terms of his contract were not immediately released as Knicks president Phil Jackson and Anthony tried to work out a deal that would satisfy both him and the future plans of the team.
Prior to his decision Anthony was reportedly struggling to decide between the Chicago Bulls and Knicks. The Bulls offered him a chance to possibly “win now” while the Knicks would take more time. What the Knicks did have was the highest offer of five-years, $129 million, but Anthony has reportedly taken less to help the team.
ESPN’s Ian Begley report’s differ from that of the New York Post. According to Begley:
Carmelo Anthony’s contract with Knicks is for $124 million over 5 years. Starts at $22.5 million with an early termination option in Year 5. Melo’s $124 million pact includes “slight increase” in Year 2 & “larger increases” thereafter. No specific figures available yet.
The Post reported:
Anthony took less to stay with the Knicks — estimated at $122 million to $123 million over five years.
Jackson confirmed The Post’s reports Anthony structured the deal to give the Knicks more cap space in 2015. It is believed he didn’t take his annual 7.5 percent raise in Year 2 and may have taken a tiny pay decrease. Under collective bargaining agreement rules, a player can receive as high as a 7.5 percent pay raise annually.
“He did exactly what we kind of asked him to do,’’ Jackson said. “Give us a break in the early part of the contract when we have some wiggle room — hopefully big enough wiggle room — next year when we can exploit it.’’
Anthony’s sacrifice in Year 2 likely opens up about $2 million more in cap space for 2015, but the rest of his annual wages suffer by not taking the raise.
Anthony’s faith will now be placed in Knicks president Phil Jackson who has promised to make the changes necessary to make them a championship team. In 2015, Amare Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani’s terrible contracts will come off the Knicks books giving them cap space and more freedom to make moves. While the free agent class won’t be as exciting as this year, some interesting names could be brought into the mix.
Anthony’s contract also reportedly includes a no-trade clause.
– Shaina Auxilly (@Shay_Marie)