Last week, NY Knicks player Carmelo Anthony announced his return to the Knicks and have agreed to take a massive pay cut to lure free agents to the team, despite receiving countless offers from the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers — all offering lucrative contracts.
After three-months of questions around Anthony’s return to the New York Knicks, the 30-year-old NBA player finally made his decision on Thursday to stay in the big apple.
An inside source told the NY DailyNews that, “[Melo] was really torn because it was the biggest decision of his career.” The source went on to say, “he’s just happy that it’s over with and he is looking forward to next season.”
The New York-native told reporters that, “in the end, I’m a New York Knick at heart.” “We are now happy to know that we have the cornerstone of what we envision as a ‘team of excellence,'” Knicks president Phil Jackson said in a statement. “Knicks General manager, Steve Mills and I have assured Carmelo through our conversations, that we share the vision and the determination to build this team.”
On Sunday, Jackson added that Anthony had taken less than the maximum $129 million to give the Knicks cap flexibility.
“He did exactly what we kind of asked him to do. Give us a break in the early part of his contract so that when we have some wiggle room next year, which is hopefully big enough wiggle room, we can exploit it, provide a more competitive team for our group,” Jackson said after the Knicks’ summer league practice in Las Vegas.
Anthony and the Knicks had been in the final stages of negotiations since Saturday. He also announced the deal via his personal website on Sunday afternoon.
“A few years ago I dreamed of coming back to New York City, the place of my birth, and on February 23, 2011 that became a reality,” Anthony said in a statement. “This organization has supported me and in return, I want to stay and build here with this city and my team. At this pivotal juncture in my career, I owed it to myself and my family to explore all of the options available to me. Through it all, my heart never wavered.”
Anthony will be $23.4 million under contract for 2014-15 NBA season.
“Any opportunity I have to build that up in New York, I’d do it,” Anthony said during the interview, referring to his willingness to take less than a max contract. “I told people all the time, always say, if it takes me taking a pay cut, I’ll be the first one on Mr. [James Dolan’s] steps saying: ‘Take my money and let’s build something strong over here.'”
As far as the money, it don’t really matter to me. If I go somewhere else, I get paid. If I stay in New York, I get paid. As far as the money goes, it’s not my concern. My concern is to be able to compete on a high level, a championship level, coming in this last stretch of my career. I want to compete at that level.