Smack / Jul 25, 2014 / 2:48 pm

‘Melo: “I Want To Win. I Don’t Care About The Money”

Carmelo Anthony

Carmelo Anthony (Cary Edmondson, USATODAY)

Less than two weeks after agreeing to a five-year, $124 million contract to remain with the New York Knicks, Carmelo Anthony told ESPN that he “doesn’t care about the money” and that signing with the Knicks was a “matter of me believing in the organization, believing in Phil [Jackson].”

ESPN’s Jeff Goodman has more on Carmelo’s first public appearance since his whirlwind free agency tour officially came to a close. And though conventional wisdom always suggested he’d end up staying in New York despite reports otherwise, Anthony says he came close to choosing to play for the Chicago Bulls.

“I want to win. I don’t care about the money,” Anthony told ESPN.com. “I believe Phil will do what he has to do to take care of that.”

“I don’t think we’re that far away,” he added. “People use ‘rebuilding’ too loosely…”

“I was flip-flopping [in free agency],” he admitted. “It was hard. It was Chicago, but then after I met with L.A., it was L.A. But it came back to Chicago — and was pretty much always Chicago or New York. That’s a situation where I could have walked in now to an opportunity to compete for the next however many years…”

“It’s a matter of me believing in the organization, believing in Phil,” Anthony said. “I wanted to go somewhere where I can end my career.”

Though tangibly irrelevant now, it’s still fun to think about Anthony signing with the Bulls. Chicago was rumored to be his preferred destination at several different points throughout his free agency tour, and stood to emerge as the Eastern Conference favorite in 2014-2015 if he’d ultimately chosen to play in the Windy City. The Bulls rebounded nicely by signing Pau Gasol once Carmelo spurned them, but the Spanish star’s influence will pale in comparison to Anthony’s prospective one.

The relationship between Carmelo and Jackson has seemingly improved by leaps and bounds since an early summer meeting between the two and coach Derek Fisher left many believing he’d sign elsewhere. Jackson expressed frequent optimism that Anthony would ultimately re-up with the Knicks throughout the free agency process, too.

And though Carmelo didn’t take the major pay decrease for which Jackson publicly pined, it’s clear the faces of New York basketball are currently on the same page. Anthony’s contract, though lucrative, was several million dollars less than the maximum allowable, and Jackson’s general aggression and willingness to think big-picture clearly appeals to his superstar.

It’s a long, rocky road to contention in New York, but Anthony is obviously fully aboard – even if he came far closer to taking an entirely different route than most assumed.

Are the Knicks playoff contenders in 2014-2015?

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  • Tony_Scorpio

    if Melo was about winning why would he only give a 6mil “discount” to his “home town” team. plus there are better teams that ARE about winning & the Knicks are not about that life, at least, not at this point. especially when they should’ve offered 90mil to be able to have the possibility of making the team as a whole better.

  • http://30homegames.blogspot.com.au/p/blog-page.html 30HomeGames

    You get crucified for taking a paycut and jumping onto a team to win CHIPs and you get made fun of for staying put and taking the money. I’m curious about the Phil Jackson experiment, I ultimately want to see Melo operating under the almighty triangle. But the squad needs to fill out with the right pieces.

  • d0nK3yM4n

    you should read the article about taxes on nba.com. I agree that the team would be in a better position with him taking around 90M, but include NY taxes and he makes the same now as he would with the bulls or lakers (I believe only a 1.4M difference). Still not putting his team in a much better position, but he definitely didn’t choose to stay for the money.

  • Marko Viter Adag

    If Melo wants to win, he should go to Cleveland.

  • 2cents

    Agree with Tony_Scorpio here. You cannot take a near max deal and then say you don’t care about the money. I guarantee you now, that in 2.5 years, when the Knicks are still no closer to seriously contending, Melo will be the first to start whining, not realising his contract has hamstrung the team from bringing in great talent. Then he will publicly vent his frustrations that management haven’t kept their promise.

    Knicks fans don’t deserve this.

  • cmuir89

    Not only that, but it is a 1 million a year savings. With that money the Knicks can go out and sign…who? Darko Milicic?

  • Speedz

    ‘I dont care about the money’, damn it where is my 120M contract PJax?

  • canndigurl24

    Lol you just want to win?? You should’ve chose Chicago.

  • Bob Fusky

    Doesn’t anyone buy this BS? Didn’t think do. We’d respect you more Melo if you just said you wanted to money. If is was about winning, you’d be a Bull. SH rips him today in The Monday Rant, funny: http://straighthoops.com/monday_rant.html

  • Larry J

    Everybody wants to criticize Melo, STOP IT !!!
    He stayed home in a very tough situation, far as the team. If he left to join you still would talk shit like any of u have ever taken a pay cut in ur life .! Lol funny to hear all the negativity from people that dislike the KNICKS! GO COUNT UR OWN MONEY LMAO !!!