Mar 30, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) smiles on the court against the Golden State Warriors in the first quarter at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

New York Knicks: On Carmelo Anthony

According to multiple sources, after going back-and-fourth between the Los Angeles Lakers and the New York Knicks for the better part of the 2014 offseason, Carmelo Anthony could be making a decision as soon as Thursday.

Some sources have gone to great extent to confirm he’s most likely taking the Knicks.

However, neither team has been informed of his decision yet.

Keep in mind that, depending on how much money he takes for the 2014-15 season (in a max deal like the one the Knicks and the Lakers are offering, it can’t be less than 105 percent the amount of the last year of the players’ last contract. In Melo’s case it should land at about $23 million), neither the Knicks (barring a near-miracle of a trade involving Amar’e Stoudemire and/or Andrea Bargnani) nor the Lakers would be able to surround him with quality role players. Well, at least not until the 2015-16 season.

Now, if he chooses to sign with the Knicks he could be doing it because he likes it there and thinks there’s a chance to compete and eventually win. He could also be looking for a sign-and-trade that’d enable him to take the max money that only the Knicks can offer him and eventually get dealt to a team which complies with the winning chances he’s been looking for since he hit the open market. A team like the Chicago Bulls.

Who the hell knows by now?

Also, there’s a new TV deal coming in 2017 so some of the contracts (mostly sought-out stars’ contracts) that will be signed during the 2014 offseason might play out as short committed deals with consecutive player options for the years after 2016. With the way the new CBA works, max contracts’ amounts depend on league revenue. If league revenue is bound to grow immensely as a result of a new TV deal that starts a network bidding war in 2017, players’ max-contract amounts will increase proportionately.

Therefore, if a player (i.e. Carmelo Anthony) were to commit to a five-year max deal in 2014, said player will most certainly be leaving some (read: a lot of) money on the table for 2017, 2018, 2019. The way teams pay stars (not just superstars; look at Gordon Hayward‘s Charlotte Hornets deal) in this day and age, three years could very well be upwards of $65 million.

Who would want to miss on that?

If Carmelo chooses either New York or Los Angeles and commits to a five-year max deal that plays out as a two-year commitment, 2014-2016, with player options for the last three years, 2017-2019, both teams would have him locked for the 2015-16 season with upwards of $20 million to spend (Knicks: $35 million, Lakers: $25 million). This means that both teams would have an opportunity, as soon as the 2015-16 season, to try and surround him with the much needed talent he demands.

It also means that the chosen team would have to be on continuous evolution once the 2016-17 season gets underway.

If the Knicks get Melo back they’re not only getting their core back but the guy they’ve built around (or at least have tried to and failed immeasurably) for the past three years. Regardless, the Knicks would be, for at least one more season, one of the most expensive ($81 million) and least efficient (20th in PPG) teams in the NBA. If they don’t get Carmelo, they just lost their superstar for nothing.

In Carmelo, the Lakers could find the player that’ll carry them into the team’s Kobe Bryant-less future. If they don’t get him, they still have the reputation and assets (read: money) to assemble a massive run at Kevin Durant come 2016.

Therefore, the Knicks have a lot at stake running on Thursday’s decision.

Tags: 2014 NBA Free Agency Carmelo Anthony NBA NBA Free Agency

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