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:
Phil suggests that Melo did take less money. "He did exactly what we asked him to," & that it may provide a little more wiggle room in 2015.— Chris Herring (@HerringWSJ) July 13, 2014
To be clear: Phil suggested that Melo structured his deal in a way to take less money in 2015. Still a near-max deal in all likelihood.— Chris Herring (@HerringWSJ) July 13, 2014
And went on to describe the Knicks' plan going forward:
Phil: "It may not be instantaneous" for us to be highly competitive, but we were able to convince Carmelo that we'll get there.— Chris Herring (@HerringWSJ) July 13, 2014
Phil, on what's next for NYK now with Melo in the fold: "I wanna be fiscally responsible" in the years to come.— Chris Herring (@HerringWSJ) July 13, 2014
Phil says the #Knicks are "long at the guard position," so that'll take "some roster management."— charlie widdoes (@charliewiddoes) July 13, 2014
Jackson added does not expect to make a lot of moves now. May or may not use midlevel exception.— Marc Berman (@NYPost_Berman) July 13, 2014
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.