Jim Boeheim said Monday he believes if Carmelo Anthony had based his free-agency decision on basketball alone, Chicago was a better choice than New York (ESPN, Aug. 18).
“Just from a basketball point of view it would have been better to go to Chicago because they’ve got better players,” the Syracuse coach told reporter Ian Begley. “But he wanted to be in New York and he wants to see if they can turn it around there. I think that’s a great thing.”
Anthony re-signed with the Knicks over the summer for five years and $124 million. The Bulls had enough cap space to offer Anthony a $74 million contract and could have increased their offer to a max contract of four years and $96 million in a sign-and-trade. But the Knicks never discussed such a deal.
Boeheim, who won an NCAA title with Anthony in 2003, believes players such as Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and newcomer Pau Gasol give the Bulls the talent edge on the Knicks.
“I think anybody would agree with that. That’s not rocket science,” Boeheim told Begley after Team USA practiced at West Point.
Boeheim also told Begley that Anthony probably would have left New York if team president Phil Jackson wasn’t there.
“I would think so. He stayed because he believes Phil,” Boeheim said. “(New coach) Derek Fisher, he knows the game. If you’re going to pick a coach who hasn’t coached, he would be the guy I would pick. I think he’s a great choice . . . I think they’ll show significant improvement this year. If they get a couple of guys down the road, I think they’ll be good.”