NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York Knicks president Phil Jackson was expecting a decision from Carmelo Anthony on Thursday.
It never came.
“But I expected one yesterday and the day before yesterday,” Jackson said at the team’s summer league practice in Las Vegas. “But no, we’re waiting.”
A report in the New York Daily News on Wednesday said Anthony would return to the Knicks, barring a change of heart. It seems he may be having second thoughts, after all.
The Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers are still very much in the running, according to multiple reports. Ken Berger of CBSSports.com said the stacked Bulls, who many believe would be the best landing spot for Anthony, are working on ways to free up cash for a more competitive offer.
Jackson said he was still expecting good news, although he said he hadn’t heard from Anthony since meeting with him a week earlier.
Jackson said he has texted Anthony a couple of times since then, but hasn’t gotten a response. But he felt confident about keeping the All-Star forward after their last discussion.
“I felt really good about my conversation with Carmelo. We really struck a chord,” Jackson said. “The two of us, I think feel really passionately about what we’re trying to get accomplished. It’s his ability to stay, be patient, lead and watch us develop a winner.”
The Knicks offered Anthony a maximum level contract, worth nearly $130 million over five years, at their meeting in Los Angeles. Anthony had previously met with Chicago, Houston, Dallas and the Lakers.
Jackson added that he had made perhaps five contract proposals to Anthony. He has said he hopes the NBA’s leading scorer in 2012-13 would be open to taking less than the max to allow for more future spending flexibility.
Jackson also confirmed that he had reached out to one of his former players, Pau Gasol. The Lakers star is a free agent and Jackson is interested, even while acknowledging the Knicks have far less money to offer than Gasol is worth.
But Jackson is trying to pitch him on the value of being in New York, even noting the importance to the Spaniard of being in the same city as the United Nations.
“He knows what he has here and what is possible and I think he’d like to play with Carmelo and I think he’d like to play for a winner,” Jackson said. “And we can’t guarantee that but with him, we’d guarantee a much better chance.”
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