As rumors swirl about the direction the New York Knicks are heading in as we approach the all-star break, reports are speculating that Carmelo Anthony is willing to take a pay cut to remain a Knick after his current contract expires.
He said if the Knicks are willing to bring in some big pieces to build a championship-quality team when they have some payroll flexibility, he would consider a pay cut.
"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.'"
Anthony has said he plans to opt out of the final year of his contract and test free agency this summer.
He said Friday that his "first priority" is to re-sign with the Knicks, who are 12 games under .500 at the All-Star break.
Of course the Knicks can offer the most money under the collective bargaining agreement. If Anthony were to go elsewhere after the season, though, Anthony could find himself leaving close to $30 million on the table.
However, he has stated he has enough money and just wants to win.
"I'm going to make money. I have money. I'm good if I want to retire right now," Anthony said in an interview with Sage Steele and Tim Legler on ESPN's "SportsCenter."
He expanded on that in an interview with other media in New Orleans.
"As far as the money, it don't really matter to me,'' Anthony said. "If I go somewhere else, I get paid. If I stay in New York, I get paid. As far as the money goes, it's not my concern.
"My concern is to be able to compete on a high level, a championship level, coming in this last stretch of my career. I want to compete at that level."
The Knicks, as presently constituted, are not knocking on the door of competing for a championship. With a 20-32 record this year, not a lot has gone right for the Knicks. It may be a while before the Knicks can compete for a title. Can Anthony wait?
From a roster filled with aging veterans, the Knicks may want to think about getting younger while trying to unload some hefty contracts (see Tyson Chandler, Amar’e Stoudemire, etc.). It won’t be easy, but the Knicks have to start thinking about mixing things up, since status quo is clearly not working. That could also include the firing of coach Mike Woodson.
Whether Anthony truly means what he says, well that remains to be seen. For the moment, though, it’s admirable that he’s stating that he's willing to finish what he started here with the Knicks. Now if the Knicks can only complement him with what he needs.
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