Carmelo Anthony (7) is second in the league with 27.3 points per game this season.
Noah K. Murray/Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Carmelo Anthony said Friday he knows "for a fact" the Knicks won’t trade him, and said he would be open to staying in New York for less than a maximum contract.
Anthony has said he plans to become a free agent this summer. The NBA’s trade deadline is Thursday, but Anthony ruled out any chance the Knicks would move him to avoid the possibility they could lose him for nothing in July.
"I know for a fact I’m not being traded," Anthony said at the NBA’s All-Star weekend. "There’s two things: I know for a fact I’m not being traded and I’m not going in there and saying I want to be traded."
Article continues below ...
New York can pay him around $30 million more than any team, but Anthony said he wouldn’t insist on making the Knicks do it.
"As far as the money, it don’t really matter to me. If I go somewhere else I get paid, if I stay in New York I get paid," Anthony said. "So as far as the money goes, that’s not my concern. My concern is being able to compete on a high level, at a championship level coming at this last stretch of my career."
The Knicks aren’t doing it now. They are 20-32, one of the league’s biggest disappointments after winning the Atlantic Division last season, and are wasting a strong season by Anthony that has him ranked second in the league with 27.3 points per game while also averaging 8.6 rebounds.
The Knicks need plenty more, and it will be tough to get because they are already so far over the salary cap. Not having to pay Anthony all of the more than $120 million he would be eligible for could help.
"I talk to people all the time. I always say if it takes me taking a pay cut, I’ll be the first one on Mr. Dolan’s step saying, `Take my money, let’s build something stronger,’" Anthony said, referring to Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan.
Anthony was traded to New York just after the All-Star game three years ago and has reached the playoffs in each season. But they are currently out of the playoff picture even in the weak Eastern Conference, and Anthony will have to decide if he feels they can put a championship team around him as he approaches his 30th birthday.
"He makes really good decisions and I feel this decision for him will be no different," said the Clippers’ Chris Paul, one of Anthony’s closest friends in the league.
"I know he loves it there. His family loves it there. Most of all, he loves to play basketball there. I don’t know what his decision will be, but whatever he does, I’ll support him 110 percent."