It turned out to be a lot longer process than anyone envisioned, but Saturday afternoon the New York Knicks finally got their man.
Superstar Carmelo Anthony, who for weeks seemed unsure what to do, informed the Knicks that he will return, accepting a five-year contract on the table that is expected to be between $120 million and the maximum $129 million.
After LeBron James announced he was returning to Cleveland on Friday, it was only a matter of time before Anthony made his decision. And after the Chicago Bulls decided to turn their full attention to attempting to sign Pau Gasol on Saturday, it really left Melo without many options.
Yet New York was where he always wanted to be, so even though it took some time, everything worked out the way it was supposed to.
Anthony’s decision could look like a signing simply to grab the money to some, but he showed a good bit of character deciding to stay with the Knicks, the team he all but forced himself to just about four years ago.
Since joining the Knicks, ‘Melo has put up some of his most effective seasons as an individual, but seen mixed results as the centerpiece for a blockbuster team. The Knicks have won only one playoff series since he arrived. While Melo has claimed that winning a title is his top priority, it is very doubtful that played a role in his coming back to the Big Apple.
Anthony is putting his trust in team president Phil Jackson to turn the current roster from the joke it currently is, into a real contender.
Melo will likely have to undergo a transition period next season as the Knicks roster is not built to contend and he has to attempt to fit in with new head coach Derek Fisher and the triangle offense.
However the Knicks needed a star and Anthony certainly is one, averaging 27.4 points, 8.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists last season for the Knicks.
Where Anthony will be tested for the duration of his new contract is becoming a leader as unlike most of the games top players through the years, Anthony has never been one to make those around him better.
That will be a challenge as he is going to have to buy in at both ends of the floor and lead by example.
Whether Jackson can build the Knicks into a contender around him is a different story, especially with LeBron and possibly Kevin Love joining Kyrie Irving in Cleveland and other teams in the Eastern Conference improving year by year.
However at the end of the day the Melo sweepstakes if over.
The Knicks got their man and Anthony gets to stay where he wanted to be all along.
We will find out over the course of the next five years if committing that much money to a guy that has had next to no postseason success in his career will pay off or not.
Yet I like the Knicks chances better with Melo than without him.
See Carmelo in 2014-15 by grabbing tickets from Barrys Tickets once the regular season schedule is released.