NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Carmelo Anthony was supposed to take the weekend to make his decision.
Now it’s Tuesday, and we still have no idea whether he’ll return to the New York Knicks or sign a less lucrative contract elsewhere.
What’s with the delay? Well, according to the New York Post, the superstar forward could be waiting to see how the other dominoes fall in free agency.
The paper reported late Monday there’s a “growing belief” within the Knicks that “Anthony is waiting to make sure there is no possible way of hooking up with LeBron James” with the Los Angeles Lakers or Miami Heat.
Anthony has been mulling his options since last week’s visits to Chicago, Dallas, Houston and Los Angeles. Knicks president Phil Jackson had the last word, offering the seven-time All-Star a maximum deal of $129 million over five years during a meeting in L.A. on Thursday. Other teams can give him a four-year, $96 million contract.
Anthony has narrowed his choices down to the Knicks, Lakers and Bulls, but is “torn” over what to do, according to a report in the Daily News. But, the Daily News reported, the Bulls, despite only being able to offer around $15 million per season, remain the wild card because they appear to give the former scoring champion the best chance to win now, something Anthony has intimated is more important than the money.
And if it is, then it might make sense to see how the market plays out. Chris Bosh could bolt Miami for a maximum contract with the Rockets, which could give Anthony and James a chance to play together on the Heat if both free agents — and Dwyane Wade — are willing to be flexible given Miami’s salary cap situation.
There’s also been talk of Anthony and James teaming up with Kobe Bryant in L.A., though first the Lakers would have to unload Steve Nash’s contract, the Post reported.
The Knicks, meanwhile, have reportedly been shopping Amar’e Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani in an attempt to create more cap space. Having the flexibility to bring in another big name could go a long way in convincing Melo to stick with the franchise that traded for him in 2011.
“Without a superstar in New York, you don’t have the big name,’’ Knicks great Walt Frazier told the Post. “I’m sure that’s why (owner James) Dolan brought him in the first place. We were good but didn’t have a superstar. To lose a superstar like that would be devastating for a team that already had trouble scoring.”
The Knicks also appear to be targeting big man Pau Gasol, who seems to be on every team’s radar.
On the coaching front, Newsday reported Tuesday that the Knicks will add Rasheed Hazzard, formerly of the Lakers, and Joshua Longstaff, formerly of the Oklahoma City Thunder, to head coach Derek Fisher’s staff as assistants.
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