Basketball

Published: Monday July 14, 2014 MYT 9:02:00 PM
Updated: Monday July 14, 2014 MYT 9:16:02 PM

Knicks star ‘Melo’ remains in the Big Apple

New York Knicks' Carmelo Anthony in action against the Boston Celtics during the post-season in May. He re-signed with the Knicks on a five-year contract. - EPA

New York Knicks' Carmelo Anthony in action against the Boston Celtics during the post-season in May. He re-signed with the Knicks on a five-year contract. - EPA

NEW YORK: New York playmaker Carmelo Anthony announced on Sunday that he will remain with the Knicks, the latest NBA free agency move in the wake of LeBron James leaving Miami for Cleveland.

Anthony had been courted by the Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks but in the end turned down all such notions to remain in his hometown, where he landed after a 2011 trade from Denver.

"This organization has supported me and in return, I want to stay and build here with this city and my team," Anthony said in a statement posted on his website.

"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.

"During this journey I met with some quality organisations who have amazing talent and leadership. I thank them for their consideration, belief in my talent, and opportunity to imagine the possibilities."

While Anthony did not confirm the details of his new deal, the contract is a near-maximum deal under NBA salary cap rules for five years at about US$125mil (RM397mil) according to multiple media reports.

"I will always remember this chapter in my life," Anthony said. "In the end, I am a New York Knick at heart."

While other teams could offer more competitive squads and a potential run at an NBA title next season, none could match the length or money the Knicks could offer, thanks to NBA salary rules.

Anthony and the Knicks missed the playoffs last season and their prospects are little better next season despite the addition of Derek Fisher as coach and Phil Jackson, who has more championships than any coach in NBA history and who arrived last season to take over as director of overall basketball operations.

"I am looking forward to continue my career in Orange and Blue and to work with Phil Jackson, a champion who builds championship teams," Anthony said. "Madison Square Garden is the mecca of basketball and I am surrounded by the greatest fans in the world."

Anthony, who played alongside James on the 2008 and 2012 US Olympic gold medal teams, led the league last season by playing 38.7 minutes a game. He averaged 27.4 points, 8.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists a game for the Knicks last season.

For his NBA career, Anthony has averaged 25.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.1 assists.

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