Jackson Lures Anthony Back To Knicks With Less-Than Max Contract
Knicks F Carmelo Anthony, one of the “most coveted free agents on the market this summer, confirmed his return" to the franchise by posting a statement on his website yesterday, "pledging to help build the team” alongside President Phil Jackson, according to Scott Cacciola of the N.Y. TIMES. Anthony in his statement said, “This organization has supported me, and in return, I want to stay here and build here with this city and my team” (N.Y. TIMES, 7/14). Jackson said that Anthony’s contract was “set up in a way that would help the Knicks' free-agent shopping next summer, when they will have considerable cap room to sign another star.” Jackson: “He did exactly what we asked him to do: Give us a break in the early part of his contract" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 7/14). Jackson added, “I want to be fiscally responsible. We’ve been a taxpayer team for some time and we want to eliminate that. We’re not going to foolishly throw money away because it’s available to us” (N.Y. POST, 7/14). USA TODAY’s Amick & Zillgitt wrote Jackson “sold Anthony on his Bulls/Lakers championship resume, emphasizing the role he had played in helping Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant take their games to new levels en route to winning so many rings” (USATODAY.com, 7/12). In N.Y., Mike Lupica wrote Jackson and the Knicks “needed Anthony a whole lot more than Anthony needed him.” Anthony is “the biggest star in town right now” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 7/13). CBSSPORTS.com’s Ken Berger wrote, “Anthony’s decision will be interpreted as shallow and greedy, and he will be portrayed as a superstar who doesn't care about winning. It's nonsense.” If Cavaliers F LeBron James “gets the benefit of the doubt for taking less money to back to his former team, why should Anthony get criticized for staying with his current team at the individual cap that the owners and players' association have established for him?” Anthony has “the city he wants and a stage he can dominate while maximizing his earnings.” There are “no arguments here” (CBSSPORTS.com, 7/12). In N.Y., Michael Powell writes if there is a “true shaft of sunlight to be seen,” it is that Knicks Owner James Dolan “has remained quiet.” However, it is “too early to declare Dolan dormant” (N.Y. TIMES, 7/14).
NYET SPENDING: In N.Y., Tim Bontemps writes following “four years of moves aimed at nothing but chasing a championship,” the Nets’ decision to pass on re-signing Paul Pierce was “clearly a business one, marking a clear change in direction for the franchise.” Until now, “money has never been an issue” for Owner Mikhail Prokhorov (N.Y. POST, 7/14). On Long Island, Roderick Boone noted the Nets not bringing back Pierce “signaled a change in philosophy in a sense.” The franchise is “done spending millions as if they were playing with Monopoly money” (NEWSDAY, 7/13).
MAGICAL HOMECOMING? In Orlando, Mike Bianchi wrote Rockets C Dwight Howard at some point in the future will “once again transform” into the Magic’s Superman. The man who “wrecked the franchise will someday come back to save the franchise.” Howard has “an early termination option in his contract” with the Rockets to become a free agent in two years. If the Magic are “an up-and-coming contender in the horrible Eastern Conference by then,” Howard “would consider coming back” (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 7/13).