It was less than 48 hours ago when LeBron James shocked the world, and decided to bolt the Miami Heat to return back to his hometown team of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
While not as dramatic as James decision, Carmelo Anthony had a very similar one to make. The Brooklyn born superstar was torn on signing a new contract with either the Chicago Bulls or New York Knicks. While the Bulls may have the better roster to compete for a championship next season, Anthony decided that he is willing to wait out with his hometown team and try to win a championship with the New York Knicks.
Anthony announced Sunday on his website, thisismelo.com, that he will be returning back to the Knickerbockers.
"I will always remember this chapter in my life. In the end, I am a New York Knick at heart. I am looking forward to continue my career in Orange & Blue and to work with Phil Jackson, a champion who builds championship teams. Madison Square Garden is the mecca of basketball and I am surrounded by the greatest fans in the world.”
Anthony reflected back the day he was traded to the Knickerbockers, and truly became a man of his word by staying with the team and trying to win it's first championship since 1973.
"A few years ago I dreamed of coming back to New York City, the place of my birth, and on February 23rd, 2011 that became a reality. This organization has supported me and in return, I want to stay and build here with this city and my team. At this pivotal juncture in my career, I owed it to myself and my family to explore all of the options available to me. Through it all, my heart never wavered.”
The team confirmed the signing, but did not disclose the terms of Anthony's contract. The team can give him a 5-year contract that is worth $129 million. However, it is believed that he may have taken a few million less to help the team with some payroll flexibility.
“After three months of questions around Carmelo Anthony’s return to the New York Knicks, we are now happy to know that we have the cornerstone of what we envision as a ‘team of excellence." Knicks President Phil Jackson said in a release. “Steve Mills and I have assured Carmelo through our conversations, that we share the vision and the determination to build this team.”
Rookie Knicks head coach Derek Fisher shared Jackson's joy in the return of their superstar.
“I have had the opportunity to be around some of the greatest players in our game, and now I have the honor of coaching Carmelo,” Fisher said. “This is an exciting time for the New York Knicks franchise and our fans. I look forward to working with him and building something special together.”
Since the start of free agency, Anthony was being courted by the Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, and Los Angeles Lakers. He met with all those teams last week.
At the end of meeting with all those teams, Anthony narrowed his choice to the Bulls and Knicks. Despite the Bulls having the better roster at the moment, they could only offer the superstar forward $75 million over four years. They could have offered him more, but could not work a sign and trade involving Carlos Boozer. The Bulls could have amnestied Boozer, but decided not to take that route.
"During this journey, I met with some quality organizations who have amazing talent and leadership," said Anthony. " I thank them for their consideration, belief in my talent, and opportunity to imagine the possibilities."