Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said Monday that Carmelo Anthony would have been better off signing with Chicago than returning to New York "from a basketball point of view" because the Bulls have better players, according to ESPN New York.
Chicago, which added heralded European forward Nikola Mirotic and drafted Creighton product Doug McDermott this summer, went 48-34 and earned the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference before falling to the Wizards in the first round of the playoffs.
Three-time All-Star and one-time MVP point guard Derrick Rose, who has been limited to 10 games over the past two seasons due to knee injuries, is on track to play this season and has reportedly looked good in Team USA's preparations for the upcoming FIBA Basketball World Cup.
Boeheim, a Team USA assistant, said Friday that Anthony's decision to return to the Knicks was motivated by his love of New York. Boeheim also said he believes Anthony would have elected to join a different team if Phil Jackson was not hired as team president. In his lone season at Syracuse (2002-03) under Boeheim, Anthony led the Orange to a national championship.
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Anthony, 30, averaged 27.4 points, 8.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists last season, posting a 24.4 Player Efficiency Rating and 10.7 win shares. After embarking on a free agent tour that included stops in Dallas, Houston and Los Angeles, Anthony reportedly narrowed his options to New York and Chicago. Jackson announced the team's signing of Anthony on July 13.
The deal is reportedly worth $120 million over five years.
The Knicks went 37-45 and failed to qualify for the playoffs last season. It was the first time in Anthony's 11-year career his team didn't make the postseason. The team fired coach Mike Woodson and hired Derek Fisher as head coach.
In June, New York gained some cap flexibility by executing a six-player trade that sent center Tyson Chandler and point guard Raymond Felton to Dallas in exchange for a package including point guard Jose Calderon, center Samuel Dalembert and draft picks. The team also drafted Wichita State product Cleanthony Early.
- Chris Johnson