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Phil Jackson: Carmelo Anthony took the pay cut the Knicks wanted

We still don't know exactly how much that was, but okay.

Al Bello

Oddly, we still haven't seen exact financial details for Carmelo Anthony's new five-year contract with the Knicks. Last we heard, it's somewhere between $120 million and the full mega-max of $129 million. That is a modest pay cut (once we have exact numbers, MattRW will flesh out the effect), but Phil Jackson told reporters Sunday that it's exactly what the Knicks asked of him:

And went on to describe the Knicks' plan going forward:

I'll be forthright: I have a bunch of words sitting in the drafts about how Melo taking such a small pay cut disappoints me. I wrote it in advance, expecting my little feelings would be hurt by Melo leaving the Knicks so little extra cash. And yeah, a cut adding up to ten million or less over five years doesn't create much room. It doesn't quite match the bravado of Melo's explicit assertions that he doesn't care about money and would rather grant the Knicks extra flexibility.

But fuck it, man. I'm already over it. I'm sure Phil Jackson and company would prefer Melo take even less-- every executive wishes every player would take less-- but if Phil's cool with it, so am I. The Knicks always had the option to let the guy walk. If Melo had a dial with "flexibility" at one end and "$" at the other and decided to crank it just a notch short of full $, then the Knicks ultimately held a switch. They flipped it toward Melo. Now it's their task to maximize his next five seasons while building something excellent using the remaining two-thirds or so of the yearly salary cap. And from the sound of things, management intends to approach the coming years like a normal, sensible (albeit rich) team, not with the impulsive, name-hungry recklessness we're used to. With a coherent regime in place, some cap room and a draft pick on the horizon-- plus Melo!-- this future looks more tractable than many Knicks futures past.

The contract's signed for some indeterminate sum and I'm done worrying about Melo's money. Welcome back. Let's go.