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Carmelo Anthony says that “without a doubt” he’d accept less money to help Knicks

Feb 15, 2014, 12:30 PM EST

Philadelphia 76ers v New York Knicks Getty Images

Carmelo Anthony has been making the rounds during All-Star weekend, and as you’d expect, the focus of the questions are primarily on his pending free agency decision.

But to Anthony’s credit, he hasn’t shied away from it or been vague. Instead, he’s cleared the air on why he’s entering free agency, he’s stated what his personal priorities are and he’s said what he needs to see from the Knicks going forward.

And when Anthony says he wants to remain with the Knicks, it’s easy to believe him. Pushing all of the dysfunction aside, he’s the biggest star in one of the biggest cities in the world. The Knicks are his team, ran by his agency. If he wants a player out (cough, cough Jeremy Lin), the player is out. He’s the man there.

Wanting to make it work in New York is perfectly logical, even if there’s a degree of difficulty thanks to James Dolan and company.

Anthony sounds open to working on solutions wherever he can, though. Here’s what he told reporters yesterday, as transcribed by Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com:

Carmelo Anthony says he is willing to accept less money to re-sign with the Knicks if it helps the team attract big-name free agents, according to published reports.

“Without a doubt,” Anthony said Friday while in New Orleans for All-Star Weekend. “Any opportunity I have to build that up in New York, I’d do it. I told people all the time, always say, ‘If it takes me taking a pay cut, I’ll be the first one on [Knicks owner] Mr. [James] Dolan’s steps saying take my money and let’s build something strong over here.'”

While that’s all well and good, Anthony giving up money in his next contract won’t help the Knicks — at least right away. New York will be over the cap in 2014 thanks to the giant expiring deals of Amar’e Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani, and that’s even without Anthony’s deal altogether. Anthony taking less money won’t create any more flexibility for next season.

Down the road for the highly anticipated 2015 offseason, however, Anthony could certainly help the Knicks clear some more space for a max player (and additional players) by taking less than the max amount he can receive.

Anthony will be due $24.1 million during the 2015-16 if he accepts his full max contract, which is based on a percentage of his old deal.

Has the success of LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade in Miami set in with Anthony, making him realize that a paycut might be worth it for the chance to win titles?

It’s certainly possible, but ultimately, it’s going to be much tougher for Anthony to just leave money on the table without any stars joining him immediately. Since New York is capped out and lacking major trade assets, it’s tough to see how another star joins him this year.

I’m not saying it was easy for James, Bosh and Wade to take less money, but they were guaranteed to be a championship contender when they did it. The trade off was right in front of them to see. Anthony has no such guarantee. Really, all he has to work from is what he’s seen management and ownership do since he’s been in New York, and that’s rarely been pretty.

But again, the Knicks are Anthony’s team. If he stays, he’s assuming some ownership in his own right. Part of the responsibility to build a winner certainly falls on him, and the Knicks should have a better chance to do that with more room under the salary cap.

That being said, Anthony shouldn’t be criticized or begrudged if he takes the full max. Turning down millions of dollars sounds really easy until, ya know, you actually have to turn down millions of dollars. You’re worth what you’re worth, and if New York is willing to pay Anthony the full max to keep him, so be it.

Either way, it will be interesting to see which ways the narrative twists and turns this offseason when Anthony makes his decision. The basketball world will certainly be watching.

  1. bhunter1995 - Feb 15, 2014 at 12:51 PM

    I’ll believe it when I see it. All he has cared about so far in his career is his PPG and his money, talk is just talk if he does it I’ll be the first one to admit I was wrong but I don’t think he will leave money on the table. In fact I doubt he stays in NY but then again the $$$ might keep him on the Knicks where he won’t win anything. If he really cares about winning as much as he says he does he will leave the Knicks and go to a team that will contend with him on the roster.

    • cruzan80 - Feb 15, 2014 at 2:44 PM

      “I’ll be the first one to admit I was wrong.”

      I’ll believe that when I see it.

      • therealhtj - Feb 15, 2014 at 8:59 PM

        Does it even matter? He could take league minimum and the Knicks are still over the cap.

    • chicagosports2014 - Feb 15, 2014 at 7:28 PM

      Smh. I hope the Knicks don’t believe Melo. lolz. It’s like waiting in the Window for your dad all day, and he don’t show UP.

  2. basketballbro - Feb 15, 2014 at 1:31 PM

    Does this mean he would take less money to join another star on another team as well? Because as a Melo fan, I’d love to see him take slightly less money to join the Bulls without having them cutting Taj.

    • sportsfan18 - Feb 15, 2014 at 11:17 PM

      He’d HAVE to take less money to join ANY other team than the Knicks, who may offer him the most per year and a contract a year longer than other teams…

      But I think he’d still take whatever the max amount was that any of these other teams could give him.

  3. bucrightoff - Feb 15, 2014 at 1:34 PM

    Taking less money in Florida is a lot easier to do than it is in New York. No state income tax is huge.

    • cruzan80 - Feb 15, 2014 at 3:31 PM

      In today’s NBA…is this really even news? Didn’t we just see Dwight Howard stiff beautiful Los Angeles, the legendary Lakers & an extra 30 million to play on a better team last summer??? Melo is currently ranked 9th in net worth among active NBA players. The guy has made over 18 mil in endorsements & other business ventures….it’s obviously gonna take more than money to stay in that horrendous situation.

      • detectivejimmymcnulty - Feb 15, 2014 at 6:23 PM

        Cali has some of the highest state income tax rates while Texas has no state income tax. The $30 million difference isn’t really that amount. This is exactly the point bucrightoff is making.

    • sportsfan18 - Feb 15, 2014 at 11:21 PM

      And when the team flight lands back in Miami returning from a road trip in Jan and Feb and it’s still 68 degrees at 3:30 a.m., it’s much easier getting off the plane and into their Porsche’s etc… and heading home vs. landing in Minnesota, Chicago, New York, Milwaukee, Indy, Cleveland, D.C., Philly and many other places when it’s below freezing with snow and ice on the road…

      If I could make millions and millions per season playing ball, I’d love to be in L.A., Houston, Miami etc… but then again I like hot weather and live in the south right now. Can’t stand the cold and the north.

  4. 950003cups - Feb 15, 2014 at 2:42 PM

    Translation: “I’ll take a lot less, as long as it’s a lot more than my best offer”

  5. milkman1989 - Feb 15, 2014 at 2:54 PM

    haha good one melo

  6. jzone954 - Feb 15, 2014 at 3:04 PM

    Canton bounds team….

  7. cruzan80 - Feb 15, 2014 at 3:34 PM

    In today’s NBA…is this really even news? Didn’t we just see Dwight Howard stiff beautiful Los Angeles, the legendary Lakers & an extra 30 million to play on a better team last summer??? Melo is currently ranked 9th in net worth among active NBA players. The guy has made over 18 mil in endorsements & other business ventures….it’s obviously gonna take more than money to stay in that horrendous situation.

    • eugenesaxe1 - Feb 15, 2014 at 8:56 PM

      Saying it twice doesn’t correct the flaws in your logic.

  8. nokoolaidcowboy - Feb 15, 2014 at 3:43 PM

    Carmelo, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.
    NY is a mismanaged ball club, so unless Mr. Dolan has set his priorities straight on becoming a championship basketball team – don’t come crying if you wither another couple of years to realize it wasn’t worth it. You’re not getting younger.

  9. kb2408 - Feb 15, 2014 at 4:40 PM

    Carmelo = Ewing

    • kb2408 - Feb 15, 2014 at 4:41 PM

      Or better yet, Melo = Bernard King.

  10. 1509lucky - Feb 15, 2014 at 5:09 PM

    Can’t the Knicks just Amnesty Stoudamire next year?

    • psubeerman21 - Feb 15, 2014 at 5:47 PM

      They used it on Chauncey Billups

  11. billtetley53 - Feb 15, 2014 at 5:50 PM

    Kobe = Darren Sharper.

    • jimeejohnson - Feb 15, 2014 at 6:14 PM

      L.A. = NYC without snow

      • sportsfan18 - Feb 15, 2014 at 11:31 PM

        close… except that EVERYTHING in L.A. is fake…

  12. csbanter - Feb 15, 2014 at 5:55 PM

    Melo has been yapping since his days in Denver. He wasn’t happy out there so he forced the Nuggets hand. He’s been in New York a couple of seasons and the team has improved, but they’re not a championship contender. What does Melo want ? He has a beautiful wife, he has plenty of money, and his day job is being an NBA player. Poor Carmelo.

    • jimeejohnson - Feb 15, 2014 at 6:17 PM

      Melo wants what all elite athletes want: a championship. How you can’t figure that out doesn’t make sense. At some point, money, chicks, cars, etc. have no meaning without a championship. Oscar Robertson called out the Knicks to give Melo the cast he needs to win it all and not a bunch of second rate scrubs like the Knicks have now except for Chandler.

      • csbanter - Feb 15, 2014 at 6:24 PM

        If Melo wants a championship he would sign with the Clippers this summer. Stop drinking the James Dolan MSG kool-aid.

  13. casualcommenter - Feb 15, 2014 at 7:41 PM

    I’m sure his agent loved that quote, lol.

  14. ranfan12 - Feb 15, 2014 at 8:32 PM

    carmelo, what r u saying lol

  15. eugenesaxe1 - Feb 15, 2014 at 9:00 PM

    The only money that’s going to help the Knicks is the money used to buy the team from Dullan.

  16. Miami305 - Feb 15, 2014 at 10:45 PM

    If Melo wants a championship he needs to go to Miami.

    • sportsfan18 - Feb 15, 2014 at 11:34 PM

      LBJ is going to opt out and take the Max this time. He’s earned it. Wade isn’t leaving. So it comes down to Bosh.

      As long as the Heat have those three, NO WAY Melo can join them…

  17. 00maltliquor - Feb 16, 2014 at 1:07 AM

    If he really means that my respect for him just went through the roof.

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