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Carmelo Anthony took $6 million haircut to give Knicks more cap flexibility

Jul 14, 2014, 5:00 PM EDT

Washington Wizards v New York Knicks Washington Wizards v New York Knicks

As haircuts go this isn’t exactly going the full Sinéad and getting your head shaved, it’s a pretty small trim, but it could matter to the Knicks.

Carmelo Anthony did take a little less than the max he could have gotten from the Knicks — around $123 million rather than $129 million — and that will leave Phil Jackson a couple million extra dollars in future years to help construct some kind of Knicks roster that can win.

Jackson spoke to Marc Berman of the New York Post about it.

Jackson confirmed The Post’s reports Anthony structured the deal to give the Knicks more cap space in 2015. It is believed he didn’t take his annual 7.5 percent raise in Year 2 and may have taken a tiny pay decrease. Under collective bargaining agreement rules, a player can receive as high as a 7.5 percent pay raise annually.

“He did exactly what we kind of asked him to do,’’ Jackson said. “Give us a break in the early part of the contract when we have some wiggle room — hopefully big enough wiggle room — next year when we can exploit it.’’

Anthony’s sacrifice in Year 2 likely opens up about $2 million more in cap space for 2015, but the rest of his annual wages suffer by not taking the raise.

What Anthony is making is still more than the Lakers could guarantee ($97 million) or the Bulls ($75 million).

And he gets to be the face of a rebuilt Knicks franchise, he gets to be the biggest star in the biggest market. That was always part of the draw, too.

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