Carmelo Anthony believes he influenced LeBron’s decision to return to Cleveland

Was LeBron James looking to Carmelo Anthony in making up his mind during NBA free agency?

Derick E. Hingle/USA TODAY Sports

Only LeBron James really knows what ultimately led LeBron James to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers this summer. He articulated some details of his thought process in his "I’m Coming Home" essay for Sports Illustrated. Nowhere in that piece was any mention of New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony.

Yet, when FOX NFL Sunday cast member Michael Strahan asked Anthony in an Adweek interview if LeBron’s decision to come back to Cleveland had any impact on Anthony re-signing with the Knicks, Anthony flipped the script a bit.

Here’s the exact question from Strahan and response from Anthony:

Strahan: And watching LeBron [James] go back to Cleveland, did that affect your decision on staying in New York, and did you learn anything from watching LeBron go back home?

Anthony: No. Honestly, I think it was the other way around. I think he saw when I came back home to New York and saw the response and saw the reaction and saw how at peace I was when I came back home. … I’m pretty sure he looked at that moment and saw that that was a very special moment, and he had the opportunity to go back home himself and regain that love.

While Strahan asks about Anthony’s free agency with the Knicks, the New York native actually alludes to his homecoming in a trade from the Denver Nuggets in 2011, a spokesperson for Adweek said. Thus, Anthony is essentially saying his own decision to re-sign with the Knicks was not influenced by James.

Anthony has been well received by the fans of New York and helped the Knicks win a playoff series for the first time in more than a decade in 2013.

The magnitude of James’ own homecoming though is tough to top, evidenced, for example, by the 30,000 people who conrgegated to watch James speak at a rally in Akron this summer.