Opening up for the first time since he signed a five-year, $124 million deal with that would keep him with the New York Knicks, Carmelo Anthony said the only other team he was seriously considering was the Chicago Bulls. The 30-year-old star told ESPN:
“I was flip-flopping. It was hard. It was Chicago, but then after I met with L.A., it was L.A. But it came back to Chicago — and was pretty much always Chicago or New York. That’s a situation where I could have walked in now to an opportunity to compete for the next however many years.”
In the end, Anthony said it was team president Phil Jackson who ultimately swayed his decision to stick with the Knicks, which he believes “aren’t that far away from contending for an NBA title.”
“I want to win. I don’t care about the money. I believe Phil will do what he has to do to take care of that,” Anthony told ESPN. “It’s a matter of me believing in the organization, believing in Phil. I wanted to go somewhere where I can end my career. I feel like we have a brand-new team. It’s a new beginning. It’s excited.”
Besides Jackson, the Knicks’ head coach is also new. Derek Fisher will lead Anthony, as well as new players Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert, Shane Larkin, Wayne Ellington, Cleanthony Early and Jason Smith. Returning players who will join Anthony include J.R. Smith, Tim Hardaway Jr., Andrea Bargnani and Amar’e Stoudemire.