To say Carmelo Anthony had options this past free-agency is an understatement. Teams like the L.A. Lakers, Houston Rockets, Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks were all lining up left, right and center to pitch their respective plans for the perennial All-Star.
Why New York?
L.A. was seen as a dark horse in the race, although the likes of Houston and Chicago were certainly in the running due to their championship prospects and New York wasn’t too far behind thanks to the financial incentives. Ultimately, he chose to stay put in the Big Apple and it didn’t take long for the critics to suggest why - the money.
They were the only team that could offer him the most amount of money with an offer of $129 million over five years. That’s an extra year and over $30million more than anyone could’ve have offered, unless the Knicks were willing to do a sign-and-trade – which they weren’t.
Furthermore, it doesn’t appear as if New York is anywhere near ready to win a championship. So when you put those two factors together, the only explanation is the huge sums he will be receiving at Madison Square Garden.
However, the difference isn’t actually all that much.
As NBA.com’s Steve Ashburner points out, the tax disparity among different NBA cities means no two deals are ever really the same:
“…because of New York’s high state and city tax rates, a maximum offer from the Knicks – $129.1 million/five years, or $33.2 million more than what those other clubs could have paid him – would have been whittled down to $66.7 million in net wages.
"The overall net gap, thanks to tax liabilities, would have been less than $13 million compared to what the Bulls could have paid him (had Chicago cleared maximum cap space) and about $11.4 million more than the Heat or Rockets would have paid.”
That is due to a lack of income tax in Texas and Florida, while the individual tax in Illinois will drop from five percent to 3.75 percent at the beginning of next year. So putting all that into perspective, ‘Melo isn’t actually making all that much money by staying with the Knicks.
Let’s be honest, with the fortune he has gained over his 11-year basketball career, $13 million isn’t the be all and end all for him. Plus, he could still make up the difference when signing his next deal.
Winning is all that counts
Maybe he really did resign for the right reasons. He certainly seems to believe it.
“I want to win. I don’t care about the money,” Anthony told ESPN.com.
“I believe Phil will do what he has to do to take care of that. I don’t think we’re that far away."
As delusional as it may it sound, maybe he does have a point.
Newly appointed rookie head coach Derek Fisher is a student of the triangle offense – a tried and tested method, in addition to a basketball guru in Phil Jackson, making all the basketball decisions.
And to top it off, the Knicks will have boat load cap space next year with Amar’e Stoudemire’s and Andrea Bargnani’s enormous contracts finally coming off the books. That will enable them to go after big name free agents like Rajon Rondo or even Kevin Love – provided he isn’t traded by Minnesota and/or hasn’t agreed to an extension by the summer of 2015.