The summer of Carmelo Anthony drama has passed, with the star forward ultimately choosing to re-sign with the New York Knicks instead of teaming up with Derrick Rose and the Bulls. Anthony told reporters shortly after re-upping in the Big Apple that his decision was about familiarity and comfortability in New York, while also believing in Phil Jackson's plan to restore the Knicks to the top of the basketball food chain.
And, oh yes, it also put $124 million guaranteed in his pockets, $50 million more than the projected four-year, $73 million deal the Bulls could have offered without a sign-and-trade in place and holding on to forward Taj Gibson. And though Anthony claimed money was not as big a factor as many were making it out to be, Chris Herring, a Knicks reporter for the Wall Street Journal, reported Thursday that the Bulls were willing to give Anthony a max deal in 2016 when the Bulls had ample salary cap space thanks to both expiring contracts and a new TV deal to be signed by the league.
CHI had reportedly floated the idea of a short-term 2-yr deal for Melo so he could re-sign for max in 2016. He says that wasnt appealing.— Chris Herring (@HerringWSJ) September 4, 2014
Melo says idea of a two-year deal, like what LeBron just agreed to, wasn't intriguing to him. Didn't want high-stress situation of FA again— Chris Herring (@HerringWSJ) September 4, 2014
James made the business decision of signing with the Cleveland Cavaliers on just a two-year deal, though he's admitted publicly that he fully intends to re-sign with the Cavaliers once the new TV deal is signed, thus allowing max players to earn even more.
But that didn't appeal to Anthony, who will be 32 at the start of the 2016 season. It's impossible to predict - yet unlikely - Anthony would received a maximum deal with the Bulls in 2016. As it stands the Bulls will have to pay Joakim Noah and Jimmy Butler following the 2015 season, followed by Derrick Rose and Taj Gibson following the 2016 season.
In signing with the Knicks at the near-maximum, Anthony will make $24.5 million in 2016, $26.2 million in 2017 and $27.8 million in 2018. It's tough to argue against that from a business standpoint, though it was the Bulls' best chance of landing the seven-time All-Star.