Carmelo Anthony: Didn't rule out Lakers because of Kobe Bryant
New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony said he re-signed with the team this offseason not because he had any doubts about playing with Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, but because he felt more comfortable in New York.
Anthony opted out of his contract over the summer and was pursued by the Chicago Bulls, the Lakers, Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks, but he ultimately re-signed with New York, inking a five-year, $124 million contract. Under the collective bargaining agreement, he would have made $95 million over four years if he signed anywhere else.
"If I thought that [playing for the Lakers] was the right situation for me from an overall perspective as far as having a team there, then I would have looked at that situation more in-depth," Anthony said, according to ESPN.com. " I just felt more comfortable staying here in New York. But as far as playing with him ... I'm here now but I would always love to play with Kobe.”
Anthony said he spoke with Bryant several times but wasn’t pressured to sign with Los Angeles.
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Many thought Chicago would be the best fit for Anthony and his best chance to win a championship. In his 11-year career, Anthony has never made it past the conference finals.
Anthony said he felt the NBA schedule makers would put the Bulls on the schedule first once he made his free-agent decision. The Bulls and Knicks open their seasons on Wednesday in New York.
“Well, I knew that was going to happen," Anthony said. "I kind of knew they were going to throw that game on the schedule first. So I was kind of prepared for that mentally and just being excited for that moment, just knowing that the offseason that I had, the whirlwind and the touring, it was a lot."
Anthony averaged 27.4 points a game last season, setting career-highs in rebounding and minutes played per game.
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