Why Carmelo Anthony Would Never Consider Leaving NY Knicks In Free Agency

Jonathan Wasserman@@NBADraftWassNBA Lead WriterSeptember 16, 2013

Despite the two years left on his current deal, New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony has already gotten grilled about his future with the team. 

'Melo, who can opt out of his contract and become a free agent this summer, recently made his most revealing comments on the topic.

"I'm not going nowhere," Anthony told Bloomberg TV's Market Makers. 

This comment shouldn't come as a surprise when you start to weigh the pros and cons of skipping town.

If you listened to hip-hop in the late '90s, you might recall The Lox rhyming about "Money, Power, Respect." And in New York, Anthony has the chance to earn a whole lot of each. 


Money: The Financial Benefits of Re-signing

Anthony would need a $33-million-dollar reason to opt out of his contract and sign with someone else. That's what it would cost him to exercise his early termination and bolt in free agency, based on the deal the Knicks can offer versus what other teams can offer. 

If 'Melo chooses to play out his current contract and become a free agent in 2015, he'll be able to re-sign with the Knicks for five years and roughly $140 million. If he chose to sign elsewhere, the max he could get is a four-year deal worth around $104 million, per Larry Coon and ESPN

Between the marketing opportunities in New York and the financial benefits of re-signing, Melo would have to pass on some serious dough for a chance to play elsewhere.

And there's just no way LaLa would be cool with that. 


Power: 'Melo, the Player/General Manager 

When Carmelo Anthony was traded to the Knicks, the team didn't have much roster flexibility. Amar'e Stoudemire had been assigned his co-star while his salary ate up space, preventing the team from making any substantial upgrades.

Since then, we've learned that Anthony and Stoudemire can't coexist, nor is STAT's contract tradable.  

But Stoudemire's contract expires summer of 2015, along with Tyson Chandler's ($14.5 million per year) and Andrea Bargnani's ($11, 500 per year).

In fact, only Raymond Felton, J.R. Smith (player options) and presumably Tim Hardaway Jr. will be under contract for 2015-16, who combined would make a total of around $11 million. 

It's likely the Knicks would give Anthony say in who the team targets in free agency, after he was given a "Robin" by default (in Stoudemire) during his first chapter in New York. Now, Anthony will have the option of choosing his Robin, with potentially some standout candidates and cap space to work with. 

The 2015 free-agent class could feature stars like Kyrie Irving, Marc Gasol, Tony Parker, LaMarcus Aldridge and Rajon Rondo. Swapping Stoudemire with any one of these guys would be an upgrade as the team's No. 2. 

With the green light to play fantasy basketball as the manager of the Knicks, Anthony could have the power only few players have access to. 


Respect: Significance of Winning in New York

Just imagine the legend Anthony would build in New York if he was able to bring home a title. Considering the team hasn't won one in 40 years, Anthony has a shot at earning icon status in New York, something he achieved at Syracuse University after winning the national championship.

Winning in New York, especially after LeBron James passed on the opportunity in 2010, would be downright epic. 

The biggest knock on Anthony throughout his NBA career is that his talent doesn't translate to playoff wins. There's a whole layer of fans out there who believe he isn't capable of winning a championship. 

What better way to earn their respect than to do something that nobody's done since 1973—lead a Knicks team to a title and revive a glorified yet dormant franchise. 


Face of the Franchise

Anthony didn't force a trade to the Knicks in 2011 because they gave him the best shot to win. It was the right move for his career—'Melo had the rare opportunity to become the face of a franchise playing in the Mecca of basketball. 

This is the kind of move you make for the long term, not as a stop on the side of the road.

Anthony loves being the face of the Knicks—you can see it in his smirk from up in the nosebleed seats at the Garden.

The whispers of 'Melo to the Lakers were not only premature but nonsensible. Would Anthony give up over $33 million to play second fiddle to Kobe Bryant, on a team without any supporting pieces in the prime of their careers? 

I'm just not sure what the incentive would be to leave New York for L.A.

While the window on this current Knicks roster might be closing quickly, Anthony has the chance to open a new one in 2015. And he's got plenty of financial, basketball and image-related reasons to stick around and see what the wind blows in. 


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