After 12 days of free agency, courtship, red-carpet treatment and much speculation, Carmelo Anthony has finally made his decision to come back to the New York Knicks on a five-year contract. Reportedly he is going to make around $120 million in the process. NBA.com has just confirmed the news.
Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher had hoped Melo would come back, and now they can start moving forward on their project of transforming a flat and meaningless team into a force in the Eastern Conference, a franchise that will be competitive and contend for championships for years to come.
There were reports last Thursday that this would be Melo’s decision, but the chance to win now in Chicago was also on his mind. In the end, it seems that the chance to be part of a new winning culture and leave a life-lasting legacy in New York spoke louder on Melo’s mind. If Phil Jackson manages to do with New York what he did with the Chicago Bulls and the Los Angeles Lakers, Carmelo Anthony is on the right path of becoming a franchise legend, with a retired jersey and all the laurels that come with that.
One of the biggest issues for the team with Carmelo Anthony coming back was the amount of cap space that the team would have moving forward, but Phil Jackson made sure to say in an interview in Las Vegas that this won’t be a problem after next season. Even though Anthony’s contract eats into a lot of cap room, Jackson said the team will have enough flexibility to bring one more star player and important supporting pieces in the 2015 free-agency bonanza. Andrea Bargnani and Amar’e Stoudemire‘s contracts will come off the books and the Knicks will have flexibility from those alone.
The Knicks are looking strong as far as young talents are concerned. The summer league is showing that the supporting cast Melo will have is not one to be ignored. The young guys can be developed into great NBA players, something that will be crucial in order for this winning culture to be successful.
Be it as it may, Melo is back. Those who like him are happy. Those that doubt his ability to adapt and play team ball are worried, but there’s nothing people can do about it. One can only hope this partnership of Hall-of-Fame coach with superstar player can render the same amount of success it did in the 90s and early 2000s.