Melo rules out trade, open to less than max deal
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Carmelo Anthony said Friday he knows “for a fact” the New York Knicks won’t trade him, and he added he’d be open to staying with the team 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 of losing 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.”
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,” he said. “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.
Anthony is having a strong season, however, ranking second in the league with 27.3 points per game, while also averaging 8.6 rebounds.
He needs more help on the team, but it will be tough to get because the Knicks 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 the Knicks are currently out of the playoff picture even in the weak Eastern Conference.