Another big-name NBA free agent officially came off the market Sunday when Carmelo Anthony agreed to return to the New York Knicks for maximum money.
Anthony’s return had been reported for days and the team and Anthony confirmed the deal Sunday. It is believed that Anthony agreed to a five-year contract worth $122 million, according to ESPN, and Anthony announced his return on his website.
“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 under the headline “My City, My Heart.” “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.”
He met with the Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers on a tour of America last week, but decided that he’ll trust in Knicks President Phil Jackson. His decision came down to the Bulls and Knicks, multiple sources reported. And any thought that he might wind up somewhere with LeBron James never progressed.
“I will always remember this chapter in my life. In the end, I am a New York Knick at heart,” Anthony said. “I am looking forward to continue my career in Orange & Blue and to work 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.”
Anthony and Jackson may have made the right move, but it isn’t likely to reverse the Knicks’ fortunes anytime soon. “It’s Phil and Melo against the odds,” ESPN New York’s Ian O’Connor writes. “Phil and Melo against the world in LeBron James’ brand new East.”