Representatives for Carmelo Anthony are presently in negotiations on a contract that will bring him back to the New York Knicks, sources tell ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith.
The Chicago Bulls and the Houston Rocketshave been told by Anthony’s representatives to move on, the sources said.
Knicks president Phil Jackson said Thursday that he hadn’t heard from Anthony in recent days but remained confident the All-Star forward would re-sign with the Knicks. Jackson said the Knicks have made five different contract offers to Anthony, one of which is believed to be a maximum deal of $129 million over five years.
Knicks coach Derek Fisher seemed to be on the same page as Jackson.
“I haven’t heard anything different than that,” Fisher said Friday after the Knicks started Las Vegas Summer League play with a 76-64 victory over the Dallas Mavericks. “We talked all this week about the fact that it’s not our decision.”
The first-time coach stressed that point.
“Decisions as free agents are never as easy as they seem,” he said. “A lot of focus is on the contract size or the amount of money and the years, but oftentimes, guys are thinking on a much larger level.
“It’s not just about basketball. Guys have wives, families, kids. Moving is tough.”
The Bulls had moved Anthony down on their priority list as recently as Friday, as sources told ESPN.com’s Marc Stein that the Bulls were prioritizing their pursuit of free-agent forward Pau Gasol even ahead of their long-running efforts to sign Anthony, fearing that Anthony was likely to stay with the Knicks. Gasol and the Bulls are closing in on a deal, according to the Spanish newspaper Marca and other media reports.
The Knicks, whose maximum offer to Anthony would have a first-year salary of $22.5 million, hadn’t shown any interest in participating in a sign-and-trade with Chicago as of late Friday night.
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