Sam SpiegelmanDeciding between New York and Chicago, Carmelo Anthony didn’t believe either team was too far away from competing for an NBA championship.
Anthony told ESPN New York the deciding factor in free agency was his faith that Knicks president Phil Jackson would church out a championship contender.
“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. People use ‘rebuilding’ too loosely.
“I was flip-flopping,” he said. “It was hard. It was Chicago, but then after I met with L.A., it was L.A. But it came back to Chicago — and was pretty much always Chicago or New York. That’s a situation where I could have walked in now to an opportunity to compete for the next however many years.”
In the Eastern Conference, the Knicks must deal with a LeBron James-led Cavaliers squad, a defending conference champion in the Heat which returns two of its big three, as well as the Pacers, which last year earned the No. 1 seed in the East. In addition, there’s a Bulls squad which should have a healthy Derrick Rose, a Bobcats team that added Lance Stephenson and Toronto, which re-signed its best player, Kyle Lowry.
The Knicks have a first-year coach and a first-time team president. This offseason, it traded away Raymond Felton and Tyson Chandler, and brought in Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert and Shane Larkin. Returning is Tim Hardaway Jr., Amare’ Stoudemire, J.R. Smith and Andrea Bargnani.