(CBS) Knicks president Phil Jackson told team beat writers on Friday that he’s discussed with Carmelo Anthony the benefits of the team’s star opting into the final year of his contract, and Anthony responded by saying he’d “think about it.”
Anthony has previously said he plans exercise his early termination clause and test the open market, where he would be a highly sought after free agent who can command a maximum deal. If he re-signs with the Knicks, Anthony could receive a five-year contract worth about $129 million. If he signs a max deal elsewhere, the contract would top out at four years and around $96 million.
The Bulls are expected to pursue Anthony if he wants to leave New York.
In his first season in charge of the Knicks, Jackson hopes it doesn’t come to that. He’s pitched the idea to Anthony that the Knicks could chase high-profile free agents in summer 2015, as salary cap constraints make it nearly impossible to add big names for 2014-’15.
“I just offered that as, ‘This gives you an opportunity to see how this is going to change, and see how we’re going to get going,’ ” Jackson said, according to the New York Times. “But that’s his option, that’s what he’s earned, and that’s part of his contractual agreement. He has that right.”
“We have an opportunity in the next couple of years to get back in the hunt for free agents that are headline players,” Jackson added. “This year, not so. But we’re going to make improvements on this team, regardless.”