For Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks, the long wait is finally over. Despite a free agency tour that saw him become courted by the Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, and Los Angeles Lakers, the perennial All-Star will remain playing in his hometown. Sources confirmed Saturday that the star forward’s agent reached out to Houston Rockets and Chicago Bulls officials to call off their pursuit. In the wake of the news, Carmelo Anthony officially announced that he has agreed to re-sign with the New York Knicks on Sunday.
Melo’s announcement was made via his official website. The bulletin labeled My City, My Heart, Anthony’s decision confirmed what many analysts had suspected all along. The explosive scorer simply loved playing in New York more than the possibility he may have on any other winning franchise. “This organization has supported me, and in return I want to stay here and build with this city and my team,” said Anthony. According to sources, Anthony was still deciding between the Knicks and Bulls as late as Friday. However, ultimately, the seven time All-Star elected to stay with the franchise that embraced him whole heartedly as its star three seasons ago.
The 2013 NBA scoring champion reminded readers and fans how he arrived in New York in the first place. On February 23, 2011 in a controversial blockbuster trade, Anthony was sent from the Denver Nuggets to the New York Knicks along with Chauncey Billups. The deal did not come without sacrifices, as the Knicks traded away four starters including Raymond Felton, Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari, and Timofey Mozgev. Despite blowing up their roster to acquire Anthony, the Knicks also infamously surrendered their 2014 first round pick to the Nuggets.
Many saw this move by the as a poor decision for the Knicks’ front office. Anthony did not need to force his way to New York mid-season, because he could have waited and signed with them when he became a free agent that summer. However, Carmelo Anthony reportedly felt compelled to force a trade to the New York Knicks after failing to reach an agreement to re-sign with the Nuggets. He declined a three-year, $65 million extension with the with the team midseason, but later agreed to sign the contract as a condition of the trade because he did not want to leave money on table before a new CBA was reached with NBA.
In fear that Melo would make good on his threats to force a trade to the Brooklyn Nets, the Knicks agreed to gut their core in order to get Anthony. Originally, the Knicks vision was to pair Anthony with former superstar Amare Stoudemire. However, the injury prone big man failed to establish chemistry with Anthony when he was healthy, and the pair spent more time struggling to defend and shoot efficiently while manning the front court. Eventually Stoudemire and his bad knees were relegated to the Knicks bench and Anthony was left to fend for himself offensively.
Anthony has enjoyed arguably his most and least successful seasons with the New York Knicks. Two seasons ago, the forward led the NBA in scoring and fished third in MVP voting as the New York Knicks won 54 games. However, last season, despite another career year from Anthony, his 27 ppg and 8 rpg were not enough. The Knicks forwards’ efforts could not overcome a poor season, where the team won just 37 games. They missed the playoffs for the first time in the three and a half seasons Anthony has spent with the team. The Brooklyn native had been to 10 straight postseason appearances before spending this playoff season at home.
The official details of the Melo’s new contract have not been confirmed. Sources indicate that Carmelo Anthony agreed to re-sign to a five-year $120 million contract with the New York Knicks. Throughout his search, the star confirmed that his “heart never wavered” during the free agency process and he was simply doing the right thing by considering all of his available options. The Knicks will look to use the $9-10 million Anthony has sacrificed in order to help sign free agents next summer.
Commentary by Brandon Wright