Adam Zagoria, Team Reporter
“Without a doubt,” Anthony told reporters in New Orleans for All-Star Weekend, according to ESPNNewYork.com. “Any opportunity I have to build that up in New York, I’d do it. I told people all the time, always say, ‘If it takes me taking a pay cut, I’ll be the first one on [Knicks owner] Mr. [James] Dolan’s steps saying take my money and let’s build something strong over here.’ “
Anthony has long maintained he plans to opt out and become a free agent this summer, but said Friday his “first priority” is to remain with the Knicks. His wife, La La Anthony, has said she “definitely” expects him to remain with the Knicks.
“I’ve never been a guy that comes into a situation, when it’s not going well, to leave,” Anthony said. “That’s not my personality.”
Still, he did give some mixed messages, telling Sage Steele and Tim Legler on ESPN’s SportsCenter that he would be willing to “test” free agency.
“I want to win a championship, so I’m gonna do whatever I have to do to win a championship,” he said. “If that means testing free agency and see what happens on that market, then so be it.”
Anthony can sign a five-year deal worth $129 million with the Knicks, but can only sign for $96 million for four seasons with another team this summer.
“As far as the money, it don’t really matter to me,” Anthony said on ESPN. “If I go somewhere else, I get paid. If I stay in New York, I get paid. As far as the money goes, it’s not my concern.”
The Knicks are locked into the contracts of Amar’e Stoudemire ($23.4 million), Tyson Chandler (14.6) and Andrea Bargnani (11.5 ) through the 2014-15 season, but Kevin Love and Rajon Rondo become free agents in 2015.
“I have a chance to attract some people to come to New York,” Anthony said on “SportsCenter.” “I think playing in New York — and everybody saw this last year, how electrified that city was. The organization, the team, how much fun we had as a team when we was playing good basketball. So I want to kind of bring that back to New York. And if I can become a free agent to make that happen, then I want to do that.”
Anthony also stated that he won’t be traded before the Feb. 20 NBA trade deadline.
“When is the trade deadline? I don’t think there’s no way possible I’ll be traded,” he said. “I don’t think they’re even considering it.
“If they feel they want to get rid of me, we’d already have had that conversation. I don’t think that. I know for a fact I’m not being traded, and I know for a fact I’m not going in there saying I want to be traded.”
As far as coach Mike Woodson, Anthony also gave some mixed signals, telling “SportsCenter” he had his coach’s back, then adding, “Whatever happens, happens.”
Adam Zagoria covers the New York Knicks and Big East hoops for NBA.com and SNY.tv. He also appears as a Big East Basketball Insider on SNY and 1050 ESPN Radio. You can follow him on Twitter and read his blog.