Carmelo Anthony can become a free agent after the upcoming season, and has made it clear he doesn't want to talk about it. But he gave the strongest indication yet that his plans include re-signing with the Knicks when the season is through.
"I'm not going nowhere," Anthony said during an interview Tuesday with Bloomberg Television's "Market Markers."
"That is one of the reasons why I wanted to come here to New York, just so I could take on those pressures and those challenges," Anthony said. "A lot of people do not like to deal with the pressure. A lot of people do not know how to deal with the challenges they face. To me, it is everyday life."
Anthony is due to make $23.3 million in the 2014-15 season. If he were to opt out, the Lakers likely would pursue the All-Star, but the Knicks can offer him significantly more —including a five-year deal. Under the collective bargaining agreement, the most the Lakers could offer is four years and roughly $96 million. Anthony could get a maximum five-year contract worth about $129 million from the Knicks, who can start negotiating with him in February.
Money aside, Anthony pushed for the February 2011 trade from Denver to be in the New York limelight and try to help the Knicks win their first championship since 1973. He led them to 54 wins last season and their first Atlantic Division title in 19 years, but they lost to Indiana in the second round.
The 29-year-old Anthony remains committed to bringing a title to Madison Square Garden.
"That is one of the reasons why I wanted to come here to New York, just so I could take on those pressures and those challenges,'' Anthony said. "A lot of people do not like to deal with the pressure. A lot of people do not know how to deal with the challenges they face. To me, it is everyday life.''
Still, Anthony doesn't want his future or free agency to be an everyday discussion with the New York media. He told The Associated Press at a Sept. 11 charity event Wednesday that he would not address either issue during the season. "I'm just not going to do it,'' he said. "I'm going to let everybody know the first day that I'm not going to talk about it.''
The Knicks were the No. 2 seed in the East last season behind eventual NBA champion Miami, but they lost veteran players Jason Kidd and Rasheed Wallace. Their big offseason additions this winter were Andrea Bargnani, Metta World Peace and Beno Udrih —making the team somewhat younger.
Anthony and the Knicks could be looking up the rebuilt Nets and improved Bulls and Pacers but Melo still believes his team is still a front runner.
"I actually see this team being better than last year,'' said Tuesday. "That's just my opinion, that's the way that we feel. And if we feel that way as a unit, then there's nothing that can come between us.''