New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony gave perhaps his strongest impression yet on his impending free agency next summer, telling Bloomberg Television's "Market Markers" this week that he's not leaving because he doesn't want to avoid the pressure and challenges that he feels come with playing in New York.
The six-time All-Star and last season's scoring champion was at the Bloomberg Sports Business Summit in New York this week with commissioners, team owners, players and bankers. Anthony and fellow member of the 2003 draft class LeBron James of the Miami Heat are two of the highest profile players set to become free agents next summer, as well as Kobe Bryant, who is set to make a league-high $30 million this season before his contract with the Los Angeles Lakers expires. James and Anthony in particular have been especially pressed by the media in recent months as to whether they will stay with their respective current teams.
In the interview transcribed by Knicks beat writer Al Iannazzone of Newsday, Anthony gave his strongest indication yet that he will remain in New York after this season:
"I'm not going nowhere. That is one of the reasons why I wanted to come here to New York, just so I could take on those pressures and those challenges. A lot of people do not like to deal with the pressure. A lot of people do not know how to deal with the challenges they face. To me, it is everyday life."
Anthony, 29, will make $21.6 million next season. Under the new collective bargaining agreement, he could be offered as much as $96 million over four years by the Los Angeles Lakers if he decides to team with Bryant. By contrast, if he remains in New York, he could re-sign with the Knicks for approximately $129 million over five years. The two sides can begin negotiating the contract in February. SI Wire: Kobe Bryant unsure if start of season is realistic for return to Lakers