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Jim Boeheim says of Carmelo Anthony, “it would have been better to go to Chicago”

Aug 19, 2014, 12:06 AM EDT

Cleveland Cavaliers v New York Knicks Getty Images

On the court, right now, Jim Boeheim is right.

There are major other factors at play here — $47 million dollars, Phil Jackson, what his family wanted, stacks of dollar bills, Carmelo Anthony’s love of New York, and of course we’re talking about a whole lot of money — but in pure basketball terms, Boeheim is right.

Carmelo Anthony’s college coach and Team USA Assistant thinks Anthony the basketball player would have been better off in Chicago than re-signing in New York like he did because of the supporting cast,Boeheim told Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com.

“Just from a basketball point of view it would have been better to go to Chicago because they’ve got better players,” Boeheim, who coached Anthony on Syracuse’s national championship team in 2003, said on Monday. “But he wanted to be in New York and he wants to see if they can turn it around there. I think that’s a great thing.”

Would Anthony had left if Jackson was not hired to right the Knicks ship?

“I would think so. He stayed because he believes Phil,” Boeheim said. “Derek Fisher, he knows the game. If you’re going to pick a coach who hasn’t coached, he would be the guy I would pick. I think he’s a great choice. I talked to Derek a little bit. I think he’s really smart. I think he’ll be a really good coach. I think they’ll show significant improvement this year. If they get a couple of guys down the road, I think they’ll be good.”

It’s just hard to argue with any of what Boeheim said.

The Bulls are the better team. They wouldn’t have had Derrick Rose (who has looked great for Team USA), Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson (if Anthony took enough of a pay cut), Jimmy Butler and others. The Bulls are committed to a defensive system that would have helped mitigate Anthony on defense. The Bulls with Anthony (and frankly without but with Pau Gasol) are contenders in to win the East along with Cleveland. The Knicks are a rebuilding project.

Anthony had said from the start — including to PBT at one point — that he wanted to stay with the Knicks but he needed to see a plan. He needed to see the vision of the future with the organization. Phil Jackson is that future. He comes in with a philosophy and a system that has won. He brings hope and a direction to the Knicks. That was enough to keep Anthony. If Jackson wasn’t there and it was Steve Mills and owner James Dolan still meddling, Anthony would be gone.

Finally, Boeheim this is a great thing. He’s right. New York needs a big star and Anthony is that. Him staying was good for the NBA in a lot of ways.

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