Barring an 11th-hour change, Carmelo Anthony will re-sign with the New York Knicks, according to Frank Isola of the New York Daily News. An announcement is expected Thursday. It is expected that Anthony will receive the maximum five-year, $129 million contract.
The deal is not official yet. The Knicks, as well as other teams, have yet to be informed of Anthony's ultimate decision, according to Bleacher Report's Howard Beck.
Re Melo: Source says "no decision yet." Teams pursuing him have not received definitive word. @FisolaNYDN reporting Melo is returning to NY.— Howard Beck (@HowardBeck) July 9, 2014
Assuming no last-minute change, Anthony will choose the Knicks over the Lakers and Bulls after reportedly "agonizing" over the decision since taking meetings with suitors last week, Isola reports. Anthony believes in team president Phil Jackson's vision, which is expected to include maximum salary cap space next summer to reshape the team around him.
It is nevertheless possible that Anthony is choosing the Knicks as a default option because the others weren't enticing. The Lakers have a barren roster, while the Bulls could not offer Anthony even a four-year maximum contract unless there was a sign and trade arrangement. The Knicks can give Anthony the most money, and for now, that may be enough. Anthony could take New York's money now and push for a trade later should the situation not improve, reports Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski.
Within Anthony's circle, belief's been this, sources tell Y: Get NY's $129M now, figure out destination later. You can always get a trade.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 9, 2014
There were early rumors that Anthony wanted to team up with LeBron James in Miami, but salary-cap issues prevented that pairing. Anthony couldn't even get in touch with James himself during free agency, reports Wojnarowski.
It's certainly possible that Anthony could contend with the Knicks. He was happy with Jackson's decision to trade Tyson Chandler to Dallas for Jose Calderon, according to Isola. Pau Gasol could follow Anthony to New York as well, especially if the Knicks can clear immediate salary-cap space by trading Amar'e Stoudemire to the 76ers as rumored. If not, the Knicks will have lots of flexibility next summer to pair Anthony with another star.
Regardless, Anthony has always felt at home in New York and was always going to struggle with leaving. It appears he won't be departing for the foreseeable future.