NBA superstar, Carmelo Anthony (pictured), who tested his wings this summer as a free agent before ultimately deciding to stay with the New York Knicks, revealed that he very “close” to leaving NYC for greener pastures, reports ESPN.
But even though Melo was courted by top-notch teams like the Chicago Bulls and L.A. Lakers, he decided to stay in the Big Apple with the team that welcomed him with huge loving arms.
At a celebrity basketball game on Thursday at Barclays Center, where Melo served as a coach, he addressed why he was even contemplating leaving an organization that was willing to part with huge sums of money just to keep him.
“It was close. I don’t even like to talk about that no more,” he said. “This is home. There is no place like New York. Although the other situations were very intriguing, there is no place like New York.”
Jim Boeheim, Melo’s former coach at his old alma mater, Syracuse University, said earlier in the week that the player would have not remained in the Big Apple if Phil Jackson—a former Knicks-stellar-player-turned-coach—had not joined the Knicks organization as president.
In response to this comment, Melo had this to say to ESPN, “I haven’t heard that. I know [Boeheim] says some crazy stuff. That’s my guy. He’s been the same way for 40 years. But at the end of the day, man, with what we’re trying to create here in New York, it’s a new culture and a new identity, and we’re trying to create that,” Anthony said. “As far as me staying here, a lot went into that decision. At the end of the day, I did have to believe in Phil, I did have to believe in my teammates. So that’s all that matters.”
We may never really know how close Melo came to leaving the Knicks. But one thing’s for sure, he’s got an iron-clad, $124 million, five-year contract with the NBA team, so suffice it to say, he is staying put for a while.