NEW YORK >> Carmelo Anthony wanted to be a Knick a few years ago, and nothing has changed now.
Anthony is staying in New York, announcing his decision Sunday in a posting titled "My City, My Heart" on his website.
"This organization has supported me and in return, I want to stay and build here with this city and my team," Anthony said.
He explained that he owed it to himself to explore all his options as a free agent, and thanked the teams he met with for their interest.
"Through it all, my heart never wavered," he wrote.
The Knicks can pay the All-Star forward nearly $130 million over five years, though Anthony said he would be open to taking less than the maximum salary if it would help build a winning team — and team president Phil Jackson said Sunday, speaking after New York’s summer league practice in Las Vegas, that Anthony did exactly that.
"He did exactly what we kind of asked him to do — give us a break in the early part of his contract so that when we have some wiggle room next year, which will hopefully be big enough wiggle room, we can exploit it, provide a more competitive team for our group," Jackson said.
Jackson said he and team officials have known longer than indicated Anthony would sign, but did not want to say anything until they could crunch the numbers and get to a figure everybody agreed upon.
"There were some issues about how to structure all the financial part of it," Jackson said. "That’s still something you can’t jump the gun on, so we just held on to our information for a while. We’re all set."
And now, the next step in rebuilding the Knicks can occur. Jackson is still cautioning that it will take time, but having Anthony is clearly a big piece of the puzzle.
Anthony decided four summers ago he wanted a trade from Denver to New York, and the Nuggets were finally able to accommodate him in February 2011. Anthony, who was born in Brooklyn, wrote in his posting that at that time he had dreamed of coming back of New York.
Brian Mahoney, Associated Press