Over the span of 12 days, Carmelo Anthony has sat down with five different teams vying for his services, but the 30-year-old, seven-time All-Star had apparently whittled his decision down to staying with the New York Knicks or jetting off to the Chicago Bulls.
Now with Yahoo!Sports confirming on Saturday an earlier report from the New York Daily News, it appears Knicks fans can rejoice, with Anthony opting to stay on a five-year deal.
Just a matter of hours until Carmelo Anthony informs the Knicks of his return on a five-year deal, as @FisolaNYDN reported this week.
â€” Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 12, 2014
There has been no official word, and whether Anthony will sign for the maximum $129 million that the Knicks can offer him remains to be seen. But the Knicks and team president Phil Jackson can now breathe a sigh of relief as the Bulls seemed like the one team capable of forcing Anthony’s hand.
Anthony visited with the Bulls, Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers last week before ending his tour with the Knicks. Only Chicago, L.A. and New York seemed to make the final cut. The Lakers remained tempting throughout the process, since they could outright sign Anthony and team him with Kobe Bryant. However, like the Knicks, the Lakers are at least two years away from contending. Anthony would also have to leave $30 million and an extra year on the table if he had signed with the Lakers.
New York's and Jackson’s pitch involved building the team around Anthony but also hinged on him taking less money so they could do so. Anthony would also have to show some patience as New York won’t have any real salary cap space to surround him with better players until Amar’e Stoudemire and Andrew Bargnani’s contracts come off the books next summer.
Regarding Chicago, the Bulls and head coach Tom Thibodeau have remained perennial playoff contenders, and the addition of Anthony was seen as that team's way to push further and reach the NBA finals for the first time since Michael Jordan left in 1998.
Chicago already has former MVP point guard Derrick Rose, who is apparently healthy after missing all but 10 games over the last two years due to serious knee injuries, along with All-Star center Joakim Noah and versatile power forward Taj Gibson.
Still the Bulls would have to get the Knicks and Jackson to agree to a sign-and-trade deal to sign Anthony, since they don’t have the salary cap space to outright sign him. The Knicks could have refused, or even gutted, the Bulls roster in exchange for Anthony.
Anthony said throughout last season that he wanted to stay in New York and would even take less money to help Jackson create a contender. But he reportedly said during his meeting with Knicks officials that he was wary of wasting another year of his prime with a team that won only 37 games and missed the playoffs last season.
Nevertheless, Anthony apparently liked the additions and adjustments Jackson has already made to the Knicks roster and the coaching staff. New head coach Derek Fisher should run the triangle offense through Anthony, and the draft day acquisitions of Jose Calderon and Shane Larkin, and the selection of rookie forward Cleanthony Early in the second round of the draft were also to Anthony’s liking.