UPDATE [July 15]: Anthony's deal with worth a reported $124 million dollars, just slightly less than the maximum of $129 million, and starts at $22.5 million in the coming season, per a tweet from ESPN New York's Ian Begley. The deal also includes a no trade clause for Anthony.
Sources: Carmelo Anthony's contract w/#Knicks is for $124 million over 5 years. Starts at $22.5 million. Early termination option in Year 5.— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) July 15, 2014
UPDATE [July 13]: Carmelo Anthony officially announced that he is returning to the Knicks on Sunday:
A few years ago I dreamed of coming back to New York City, the place of my birth, and on February 23, 2011 that became a reality. This organization has supported me and in return, I want to stay and build here with this city and my team. At this pivotal juncture in my career, I owed it to myself and my family to explore all of the options available to me. Through it all, my heart never wavered.
During this journey I met with some quality organizations who have amazing talent and leadership. I thank them for their consideration, belief in my talent, and opportunity to imagine the possibilities.
I will always remember this chapter in my life. In the end, I am a New York Knick at heart. I am looking forward to continue my career in Orange & Blue and to work with Phil Jackson, a champion who builds championship teams. Madison Square Garden is the mecca of basketball and I am surrounded by the greatest fans in the world.
Anthony came to his decision after visiting the Lakers, Bulls, Knicks, Rockets and Mavericks. His free-agency tour was well-chronicled as Derrick Rose reportedly worked out for Anthony in Chicago, and Houston photoshopped Jeremy Lin's jersey onto a photo of Anthony.
The decision took some time, with Anthony's decision reportedly hinging on LeBron James' own free agency quandary. Anthony was also heavily considering the Bulls, including a late change of heart that had him thinking about ditching the Big Apple in favor of the Windy City as late as Thursday.
No Easy Choice
No Easy Choice
Anthony has been a polarizing figure over the course of his career. His scoring talent is unquestioned, and he had one of his better years in the midst of a disastrous season for New York. Anthony averaged 27.4 points and a career-high 8.1 rebounds in 2013-14, and he shot 40.2 percent from long range. The 30-year-old has mostly played as a 3 in his career, but over the past few years, he has shown the ability to be an effective power forward.
Despite his scoring prowess, critics have been quick to point out Anthony's tendencies to rely upon isolation plays and his poor defense. Moreover, he's been knocked for his inability to lead teams deep into the postseason.
Anthony returns to a Knicks team that has a lot of work to do before becoming a contender. New York should have a good amount of cap space next summer when Amar'e Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani come off the books.
A lot of the Knicks' future depends on whether they want to play Anthony at the power forward, where he's had some success in the past few years. Tyson Chandler's defensive ability at center previously was what allowed New York to give him so much play in the frontcourt, but now that Chandler has been traded to Dallas, it's uncertain what the Knicks' plans are down the lines that might give them the ability to keep running that lineup.
Regardless, Anthony's natural talents give New York one of the most versatile scoring threats in recent memory. His balance, footwork and superb timing make for a great midrange game, and his shooting range extends that to beyond the arc. With good size for a forward, Anthony can play either small forward or power forward, and his nimble feet make up for what he loses in size as a power forward.