Making the media rounds leading up to the NBA All-Star game, Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony said that he'll likely opt out of his contract and test free agency. He'll do so with a return to New York on his mind.
According to Newsday's Al Iannazzone, Anthony said he'd take less money to allow the Knicks the ability to construct a better roster around him. He said that it's his "first priority" to remain with his current team, and in a TV interview with ESPN, Anthony said he wants to use free agency to recruit players to New York.
"I have the chance to attract some people to come to New York," Anthony said. "Everybody saw this last year, how electrified that city was. I kind of want to bring that back. If I can become a free agent to make that happen, then I want to do that."
"I know for me, my main thing is I want to win and I want to win now," he added. "I'm going to do whatever I have to do to win a championship."
Anthony also said that he "knows for a fact" that New York won't move him before the trade deadline on Feb. 20, according to Iannazzone.
Anthony is set to make $23.3 million next season but can opt out, test free agency and sign a long-term deal with a team of his choosing.
New York entered the All-Star break with a 20-32 record, but Anthony has put up numbers consistent or better than his production from last season, which was the best to that point of his career. He's averaging 27.3 points, 8.6 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game while shooting 45 percent overall and 42 percent from three-point range.