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Carmelo Anthony said his “first priority” is to remain a Knick, but he wants to see a plan

Feb 14, 2014, 4:34 PM EDT

NBA All-Star Press Conferences and Media Availability 2014 Getty Images

NEW ORLEANS — Talk to Carmelo Anthony and it quickly becomes clear he loves being a Knick. He loves New York, he loves playing in Madison Square Garden, he loves Spike Lee, he loves everything about the experience.

He also wants to win an NBA title.

Are those two things compatible?

Anthony is asking himself that because he can and will opt out of his contract this summer and become an unrestricted free agent. That fact combined with the Knicks ugly 20-32 record — a record compiled a roster that will likely look very similar next season — makes the Knicks front office and a lot of fans concerned he could bolt for Chicago or some other destination.

However, Anthony sounds like a guy giving the Knicks the benefit of the doubt. He doesn’t want to go. He just wants to see a real plan in place.

“At the end of the day that’s my first priority, to stay,” Anthony said while meeting with the media in New Orleans Friday. “That’s my first priority. My priority is to figure it out, let’s figure it out together…

“My priority is not to just because I say I want to be a free agent, is to go leave. I never was a guy that comes into a situation and basically when it’s not going well to leave like that. That’s not my personality.”

Along those lines, Anthony shot down the idea he asked for a trade, nor has the team talked to him about one.

“That conversation never even came up…” Anthony said. “I don’t want to be traded. I just don’t want to be traded. I came to New York, and I said it before, I wanted to retire a Knick. That’s not something I would bull—- with, I said it, I meant it. That’s how I feel.”

Does he still feel that way despite this season?

“I still feel strongly about that,” Anthony said. “That’s why at the end of the season everything needs to be laid out on the table. From both parties. If that’s something we can grow with, we can build on, we can compete with at the highest level, then we’re rolling. If that’s not the plan that they have, then we got to talk about something else.

It seems odd that there has not been some discussion of the long-term plans with Anthony already.

That plan is likely going to be a 2015 and 2016 plan — the summer of 2015 is when Amar’e Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler and Andrea Bargnani all come off the books and the Knicks will have cap room to go after free agents. There have been reports Kevin Love is a target, but if he leaves Minnesota the Lakers and 28 other teams also will target Love. If not him there are a host of quality players potentially the market in those years (LaMarcus Aldridge and Kevin Durant to name a couple). The Knicks are going to have to recruit that level of talent, hope Tim Hardaway Jr. and Iman Shumpert develop (or can be flipped for good young players) find a system they all fit in.

Anthony sounds like a guy who wants to believe all the puzzle pieces will fit together and things are going to get better in New York. If he sees an aggressive plan he views as realistic, look for him to sign on to stay the face of the Knicks. That is his priority.

  1. calkinsrob - Feb 14, 2014 at 4:40 PM

    Im not the biggest fan of melo, but id love to see him come to chicago. Rumor is he likes thibs and he and rose could be great.

    • chicagosports2014 - Feb 14, 2014 at 6:44 PM

      Sound good until he asked about the plan, huh NY? lolz

  2. therealhtj - Feb 14, 2014 at 5:00 PM

    Any plan of paying Carmelo an average of 25mil/yr for the next 5 taking him well outside his prime is a bad plan.

    • money2long - Feb 14, 2014 at 6:21 PM

      lol smh

    • sportsfan18 - Feb 14, 2014 at 11:23 PM

      You’re right on the money. A day or two on this site an article touched upon this same topic. Paying Melo that much money, with his game would still leave too many pieces needed to surround him with the necessary talent to win.

      If he resigns for the max, it will be hard to come up with a realistic plan. Yes, Amare will come off the books soon but Melo will be making more than one third of the teams salary cap. He’s a volume shooter who doesn’t play defense well at all. Not much bang for all those bucks he’s getting…

  3. jolink653 - Feb 14, 2014 at 5:18 PM

    I’m tired of these constant promises that the Knicks are building towards the future by sucking now and targeting elite free agents years from now. They sold us on waiting for Lebron and Wade and that never happened. Waiting for Love, Rondo, Aldridge or Durant won’t happen either because Aldridge and KD won’t leave their teams and I doubt Love or Rondo comes here. Best course would be stock up in the draft, but of course the team gets rid of picks like they’re going out of style. They really need to bring in a GM who knows the game and the market and have Dolan just get out of the way and do what needs to be done to build this team into a contender

    • beach305 - Feb 14, 2014 at 5:40 PM

      I agree, it’s always about the future with the Knicks. They need to start thinking about the present, because you cannot always count on the future (Just ask the Bulls).

      • chicagosports2014 - Feb 14, 2014 at 8:51 PM

        Last I checked Da Bulls we’re doing pretty good this year. How good will Knickerbocker be without Carmelo.

  4. jbeagles23 - Feb 14, 2014 at 5:32 PM

    I think rondo could end up there but they need way more than that to be a contender

  5. eugenesaxe1 - Feb 14, 2014 at 6:00 PM

    Hasn’t he seen enough of their “planning”? And unless Step 1 of the plan is “Sell the team to someone who’s not incompetent”, the rest is irrelevant.

  6. nokoolaidcowboy - Feb 14, 2014 at 7:03 PM

    Carmelo, all you need to is that Dolan plans to own this team for a long time. Tell Lala you have enough money to keep an Apartment for her in NY regardless of where you work.

  7. ohioteamsusuallysuck - Feb 14, 2014 at 7:07 PM

    We will see what his real priorities are. If he wants the Knicks to be championship contender he has to sign for less money.

  8. shuttaman1990 - Feb 14, 2014 at 9:28 PM

    A plan?
    There is no plan and he knows it.
    They couldn’t form any plan if they had a plan magic maker with Album”I got 100% plans for ya” Dumbledore with them!
    Knicks take your L, Melo is leaving for the Los Angeles Lakers.

    Lakers all day.

    • ranfan12 - Feb 15, 2014 at 11:37 AM

  9. unfrozencavemanlawyer2 - Feb 14, 2014 at 9:31 PM

    Knicks will give him the max, thereby insuring they can’t put other competent players around him. Too much talk about wanting to win, not enough guys willing to take less. Can’t say I blame the players. I would not take a dime less than the full Bird rights max, but I also wouldn’t pretend I only care about winning.

  10. Professor Fate - Feb 14, 2014 at 9:35 PM

    Knicks fans better hope ‘Melo isn’t doing the Dwight Howard two-step with those quotes.

  11. caeser12 - Feb 14, 2014 at 10:09 PM

    Plan, meet James Dolan.

    Peace Melo.

    Go NY.

  12. therealgrande - Feb 14, 2014 at 11:09 PM

    Anyone that thinks NYK is better off without Melo is crazy. Carmelo Anthony’s shooting % by quarter:
    1st 51 %
    2nd 46.4 %
    3rd 44.8 %
    4th 37.3 %

    NO HELP. But, he deserves to see what NYK will do to make them a championship contender. Although, no matter the hometown discount he takes, I’m not sure what pieces Dolan will be able to contain to an already sub-par roster.
    Chandler is past is prime, Ray stinks, who knows what JR will show up. SO many question marks in the Knicks future.

    • divan22 - Feb 15, 2014 at 4:44 AM

      So the one-dimensional player, who takes up a HUGE chunk of the Knicks’ salary cap, gets progressively worse at that one dimension until he’s worthless in the 4th quarter… and to you, that’s evidence that the Knicks would be worse off without him?

      Did the Nuggets get worse without him? Nope. Did the Knicks get worse without him when he was hurt 2 years ago? Of course not.

      Now, they DID get worse when Tyson Chandler got hurt this year. I guess defense still wins in the NBA… what a shock!

      Popovich wouldn’t take this guy if you put a gun to his head. You don’t win with selfish chuckers who don’t make their teammates better and don’t play defense. ESPECIALLY when they make as much as Carmelo makes.

  13. mackcarrington - Feb 15, 2014 at 2:02 AM

    He also said that he wants to test free agency too.
    I’m confused as to why he wants to do this if he plans on staying.
    This seems to be the ultimate ego exercise. If he’s not going anywhere, why does he need to know what his market value is?
    Can someone explain this to me?

  14. lenbias34pt - Feb 15, 2014 at 7:28 AM

    The Plan:

    Sign the best defensive Center in the NBA.
    Sign one of the best power Forwards in the NBA.
    Sign the 6th man of the year.
    Sign a point Guard that has started 582 of 638 games and is still an above average point.
    Draft a strong defensive presence to guard the best 2 guards in the league.

    and than you sign Mello and watch Mello blame everyone but the man in the mirror.

    Mello is the most overrated player in NBA history.

    It is hilarious to hear Mello threat that he may leave.
    Does anyone think that Lebron or Durrant have more talent to play with than Mello?
    Westbrook and Wade have missed more than half the season to date and those legit stars have their teams playing at an elite level.

  15. bux1022 - Feb 15, 2014 at 11:51 AM


    Who wants to play for the sorry a$$ lakers. Clippers are the only relevant team in that city! Melo was never going anywhere!

    Big apple biz!!

  16. bux1022 - Feb 15, 2014 at 11:54 AM


    Knicks have the lowest payroll in the league in 2015. So stop flapping your trap!

  17. bux1022 - Feb 15, 2014 at 11:57 AM


    Did you just,in all seriousness, ask why a player would test free agency even if they are deciding to stay? Obviously didn’t major in business. Must be a communications major. Lol

    • mackcarrington - Feb 15, 2014 at 2:11 PM

      Well, instead of being a smart mouthed jerk why don’t you give me an intelligent answer?

    • mackcarrington - Feb 15, 2014 at 2:13 PM

      Other sites are reporting that he would take less money too stay.
      If that’s true, what does it matter what his market value is?

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