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Will Melo Take Pay Cut To Help Knicks Build A Winner?

Jackson Banking On Superstar Being 'True To His Word' And Willing To Sacrifice
Carmelo Anthony (Photo by David Dow NBAE via Getty Images)

Carmelo Anthony (Photo by David Dow NBAE via Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Will Carmelo Anthony take less money to stay with the New York Knicks?

That’s the $33-million question. New York Knicks president Phil Jackson said Wednesday that he hopes the star forward stays “true to his word” and is willing to sacrifice some cold, hard cash to help the team become a perennial contender.

“There are some obvious examples that are out there that everybody can point to,” Jackson said. “San Antonio has had a wonderful run through (Tim Duncan’s) tenure there as a player, and he’s agreed to take a salary cut, so other players can play with him so they can be this good.”

Jackson also used as an example the Miami Heat’s Big Three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

“The group down in Miami agreed to take less money to play together, so that’s, I think, a precedent that’s been set,” he said. “Because the way things have been structured now financially for teams is that it’s really hard to just have one or two top stars, max players, and put together a team with enough talent.

“You’ve got to have people making sacrifices financially. So we hope that Carmelo is true to his word, and we understand what it’s going to take and we’ll present that to him at that time.”

During All-Star weekend, Anthony said he’d be open to making less with the Knicks: “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 Mr. Dolan’s steps saying take my money and let’s build something strong over here.'”

Jackson will have to sell Anthony on his plan. The 29-year-old said last week that his top priority will be finding a team that is built to win, though he’d be willing to stay if the Knicks can return to being competitive.

Anthony, who plans to become a free agent this offseason, can sign a five-year max contract with the Knicks for $129.1 million, according to ESPN. If he goes elsewhere he’d get a maximum of $95.9 million over four years, ESPN reported.

“I’d like to appeal to his better nature, by winning, and that’s what we want to do,” Jackson said.

The Knicks finished 37-45 as Anthony missed the playoffs for the first time in his 11-year career.

Now they’re in the market for a new coaching staff. And it’s possible they’ll have to search for a new cornerstone superstar, too.

“I’m all about moving forward,” Jackson said of the Anthony situation. “Just deal with what is and move forward. If it’s in the cards, man, are we fortunate. If it’s not in the cards, man, are we fortunate. We’re going forward anyway.”

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