Bulls fans will like this one.
Carmelo Anthony knew he had two decisions he could make in free agency: Team up with Derrick Rose and the Bulls and have a real shot to compete for an NBA championship for the first time in his career, or re-sign with the Knicks, giving him the most money, the ability to be a team's superstar in one of the league's largest markets and take a much more difficult route to that elusive NBA title.
Anthony chose the latter, signing last month with the Knicks on a five-year, $122 million deal.
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Fast forward almost a month later and the Bulls, with a healthy Derrick Rose as well as Pau Gasol and rookies Nikola Mirotic and Pau Gasol, are considered one of the favorites in the Eastern Conference with a real chance to make their first Finals appearance since the Michael Jordan era.
The Knicks? Not so much, and Anthony knows it.
The seven-time All-Star spoke with Raul Alzaga of PrimeraHora.com and admitted it's unreasonable to think the Knicks will compete for a championship this season.
"I do not expect to win a championship this year. That’s something that takes time and everything has to be in sync, from management to players. We have much work to do, but something that drives me. I know we can start creating the foundation of what we do. It’s the start of a good process, “said Anthony. “Next year we will have enough money to spend within the salary cap. But this year it is important to take the necessary steps towards those who will in the next year. I want to concentrate on building what we want from this year."
First off, Anthony is right and should be applauded for admitting that the Knicks' championship aspirations are long-term, not short-term; it's why he signed with the Knicks on a five-year deal. Though the roster is pretty much the same as last year's edition that won 37 games, the Knicks will have -- as Anthony noted -- ample salary cap space next summer to go after a hot free agent. Combine that with a few young pieces that are continuing to show signs of progress (Tim Hardaway Jr., Iman Shumpert and Cleanthony Early) and, of course, Anthony, and the Knicks could be looking at some success in the next few seasons.
Still, with the Bulls' sights set on a 50+ win season and deep playoff run, it'll be tough for Anthony to watch wondering what could have been.