After all the flirting, Carmelo Anthony is expected to accept Knicks max offer
By Clifford Davis
He was whined, he was dined, and he was showed how much teams desired to have him as their franchise player. After all the meetings and flirting, Carmelo Anthony is expected to accept the New York Knicks 5 year $129 Million dollar contract offer. A decision by Anthony is expected in the next 48 hours.
During the 2010 season after Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, and Lebron James were all being courted by multiple teams, before signing with the Miami Heat, Carmelo Anthony opted not to be a free agent in the 2011 season and instead forced himself out of Denver via trade during that season, and also forced James Dolan to gut his roster just so they can acquire the all-star forward, so he can sign for the maximum amount of money.
Before training camp of this past season, Carmelo expressed his desire to opt out of his current contract with the Knicks so he can endure the same kind of admiration all his other friends were able to experience. It was an odd move at the time for Anthony as the Knicks were coming off a promising season where they won 54 games, won their division for the first time since the 1993-94 season, finished second in the Eastern Conference, and advanced to the second round of the playoffs before being ousted by the Indiana Pacers in six games.
Carmelo Anthony’s interview proclaiming his desire to opt out his contract was a precursor of things to come for the Knicks. They got off to a horrible start before ending the season with a record of 37-45, and not making the playoffs in a weak Eastern Conference. The sub par season cast doubt on whether or not he would return to a franchise that was not ready to compete for a championship, as he expressed winning a ring as his number one desire. The Knicks had a front office in a state of flux with a meddling owner who has admitted to not being a “basketball expert”, and no cap room to make any significant moves.
Although the Knicks can pay Anthony $30 million dollars more than the next team, his desire has always been win first. In that sense, the Chicago Bulls seem to be his best option with Tom Thibodeau as their head coach, Derick Rose as their point guard and other pieces. The Bulls would become favorites to win the Eastern Conference, but he would have to take a $50 million dollar pay cut to join Chicago.
Anthony, however, never really sounded like a person who was willing to leave the New York spotlight, he just wanted to be assured he wasn’t going to waste another year rebuilding. After not making the playoffs for the first time in his career, it is understandable that he would want to see what is out there, although opting out has been in his cards since October. Phil Jackson, along with GM Steve Mills and head coach Derek Fisher met with Anthony after he concluded his final free agent tour with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Sources say Phil Jackson and the Knicks belief of retaining Anthony only strengthened after the meeting. Phil traded Center Tyson Chandler and disappointing point guard Raymond Felton to the Dallas Mavericks for Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert and future pieces. The move was a sign that Phil is willing to make the necessary moves to make the Knicks a contender now.
Phil Jackson is also holding out hope that he can convince free agent Pau Gasol who won two championships with him with the Lakers, to take a significant pay cut to join the Knicks. Last season, Gasol made $19 million, if he were to sign with the Knicks, the maximum they will be able to offer him is $4 million. In fact, according to multiple sources, Carmelo Anthony tried contacting Gasol to try and recruit him to play with the New York Knicks.
So while the entire NBA waits for Lebron James and the decision part two, it seems Carmelo has already made up his mind. Although he and Lebron would like the play alongside each other, that isn’t likely. The Lakers are the only team who can make a competitive offer to both free agents, but Lebron is reportedly seeking a max contract, and with Anthony on board with the future direction of the Knicks, the only way they play with each other is if Lebron signs a one year deal with the Miami Heat and then decide to come to the New York Knicks and play with Carmelo there.
Carmelo got what he wanted, he sat and listened to multiple teams express their desire for him to wear their uniform, they had photo shopped pictures of him wearing their jerseys, he had key players of their teams recruit him, and he listened to how the teams would make the necessary moves to help him compete for a championship, but ultimately his love for New York, the direction the team told him they were going to take, and the $129 million dollar contract seems to be enough for him to want to stay with the team he forced the Denver Nuggets to trade him to.
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