When Carmelo Anthony announced his return to the New York Knicks, critics took little time deciding what Anthony valued most. To them it was money over winning as he chose the rebuilding Knicks over a Chicago Bulls team who would have leapt to the top of the Eastern Conference with him on the roster.
But Anthony says he does want to win and it isn’t all about the money in an interview with ESPN.
Carmelo Anthony said it was not the money, but instead his confidence in Phil Jackson and his belief that the Knicks “aren’t that far away from contending for an NBA title” why he opted to remain in New York instead of signing with 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.”
It’s easy to see why one would think that winning isn’t Carmelo Anthony’s priority after returning to a team who didn’t make the playoffs over a team that would enter championship contender status with him on the team. But Anthony’s return to New York, while heavily motivated by the money, has more to do with his faith in what Phil Jackson can do with the team.
After this season, the New York Knicks will have the funds to add a max contract player to the roster. There’s no guarantee that Phil Jackson can do so, but in a marquee basketball market and a fruitful free agency class in the summer of 2015, Anthony’s risk may pay off in as soon as a year.
Jackson’s work is already paying off. They’ve moved the contract of Raymond Felton, acquiring draft picks in return, and is in the works of building a solid foundation for the Knicks to lean on.
There’s no telling what the Knicks will do this season, but we’ll know if Anthony’s gamble pays off in a span of two years.