Carmelo Anthony has until June 23 to decide if he will stick with the New York Knicks for another season or test the waters of unrestricted free agency by opting out of the final year of his contract.
The Knicks obviously want Anthony to stay and president Phil Jackson has told Anthony to “think about” opting in. The Knicks don’t just want Anthony back because he’s a fantastic player, but because they believe he can bring other stars to the Knicks.
“I think it really helps,” Jackson said via Ian Begley of ESPN New York. “I haven’t been a major recruiter as a basketball coach. I’ve had players who could recruit by their talent; that’s my great fortune. We didn’t have to send out Michael Jordan to go out and recruit people. People wanted to play with him. Or Scottie Pippen. We didn’t have to do that with Shaq [O'Neal] and Kobe [Bryant] in those situations, and they’re willing to do it. As a result, we ended up with [Karl] Malone and Gary Payton on a basketball team at one time.
“So I’ve been in situations like that. But one of the reasons I never went to college [is] because I never wanted to get into that world of promises and dreams. I want to be in reality most of the time, and I think that really helps. The reality of knowing a player is going to come in and he sees what’s done and sees how players get to play, sees the kind of effort that players put out on the floor is something that goes around this league pretty quickly and guys want to be a part of it.”
Anthony averaged 27.4 points, 8.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game last season and shot 45.2% from the field, 40.2% from beyond the arc and 84.8% from the free throw line.