Anthony will stay in New York if they can prove they will compete next year.
New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony has again reiterated his desire to come back next season but also revealed that he “wants to win” immediately ahead of free agency this summer.
The 29-year-old admitted that he would like to re-sign with the Knicks, but he would first need assurances from team president Phil Jackson that they can build a winning team around him.
Anthony plans to opt out of the final year of his contract and test free agency this summer, and he admits that he will still likely explore his options before making a decision.
“I want to come back. But I also want to win,” Anthony said after his exit interview with Jackson at the team’s practice facility, as reported by ESPN.
“You know, me wanting to be here, if we can put ourselves in position to at least compete at a high level over the course of [the next contract], then I’m willing to stay here and I’m willing to ride or die for New York.
“You know, I’ve never once said I wanted to leave. I always said that I wanted to explore my options, I wanted to see what’s out there.”
The Knicks have an advantage over their rivals in that they can offer Anthony a max deal for five years worth over $129m. If he signs with another team, the maximum he can get is $95m over four years and those numbers are based on the assumption that Anthony will get a max deal elsewhere.
However, he stressed on Thursday that finances don’t even matter at this point of his career, and that his decision will purely be based on which team he feels will give him the best opportunity to win.
New York aren’t expected to change much this summer given the contract situation they are in, as they are currently over the salary cap thanks to the deals for Andrea Bargnani ($11.5m in 2014-15), Amar’e Stoudemire ($23.4m) and Tyson Chandler ($14.6m).
Some believe that Jackson will wait until the three contracts expire after next season and begin his rebuild in the summer of 2015 as the Knicks may have significant cap space that summer and will also have a first-round pick in the draft.
However, Anthony has ruled out waiting until the 2015-16 season as he believes he may not be able to afford waiting around for a rebuild.
“I don’t know if I can afford to wait another season of losing,” he added. “I really can’t see that picture right now.”
“I’m not at a point in my career when I want to rebuild. [Hopefully] we can work with the pieces that we have and Phil brings his knowledge of running a basketball program, organization, to this. Then we can have a lot to talk about.”
Nevertheless, he believes that the “grass isn’t always greener on the other side”, and ultimately he will wait until he sits down with Jackson for talks before making a decision.