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Reports: The Knicks offered Carmelo Anthony a maximum contract

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This comes after the Lakers reportedly did the same.

Christian Petersen

Carmelo Anthony met with the Lakers in Los Angeles today, then he met with the Knicks. The Lakers reportedly offered Melo a max contract-- 4 years, $97 million. The Knicks-- as many reporters suggested they would-- followed up by offering their own max:

The Knocks offered Melo the max, too, I guess.

So there's that. Phil Jackson has repeatedly and recently encouraged Melo to take a pay cut and help the Knicks build a team around him, but he hinted at a max offer, too, and here we are. There's also this notion, even with the max in the air:

"I wouldn't be surprised" isn't a report, but it notes a reasonable possibility. Melo can earn a whole lot of money-- perhaps more than other teams' maximum-- by taking a cut below the Knicks' max. And I wouldn't rule out the possibility of New York leaking this offer to help Melo's image once he does end up taking less.

The question then is whether a pay cut would fall meaningfully below the max, or just a few million off for appearances. The line there is fuzzy, but everyone involved knows the difference. Melo can technically take a "pay cut," or he can practically pay some of his teammates' salary.

It is the Knicks' collectively bargained right to trump all offers with that mega-max, and it is Melo's collectively bargained right to take it. Still, an accepted five-year, $129 million offer (or something very close to it) would constitute an outcome both parties suggested they might avoid-- a mutual willingness to cement one foundational element at the expense of others. I reckon it's possible to build a great team around a maxed-out Melo, but it is inarguably easier to build around a sub-maxed-out Melo. It might even be easier to build without Melo.

We shall see. He's gonna think about it.