NEW YORK (AP) — Carmelo Anthony is staying with the New York Knicks.
Anthony has decided to remain in New York, choosing the Knicks over a number of teams which could have given him a better chance for the championship he craves.
The All-Star forward met with Chicago, Houston, Dallas and the Lakers, but has informed the Knicks he will return, a person with knowledge of the details told The Associated Press on Saturday on condition of anonymity because no announcement was made.
The Knicks offered Anthony a maximum contract worth nearly $130 million over five years, about $35 million more than any of his other suitors under NBA rules, though it’s unknown what the final terms of his deal will be.
Yahoo Sports and the Daily News of New York first reported Anthony’s plans.
Anthony came to the Knicks in February 2011 after a trade with the Denver Nuggets. He led the NBA in scoring in 2012-13 and was second last year but is more interested in team success, so he spent the last two weeks considering other homes.
But the combination of the millions more the Knicks could offer and the chance to keep playing on basketball’s biggest stage was too hard to pass up for Anthony, a New York native who spent months trying for a trade to his hometown 3 1/2 years ago.
He wanted the Big Apple then and still does now.
His decision came a day after LeBron James announced he was going to sign in Cleveland, leaving Anthony as the best free agent on the market.
The Knicks did not comment. An announcement is expected Sunday.
Not even the first playoff-less season of his 11-year career convinced Anthony to leave, though he may have seriously considered it given that his decision didn’t come until the 12th day of free agency.
Instead, he’s putting his faith in team President Phil Jackson and coach Derek Fisher, who will try to rebuild the Knicks after they went 37-45 last season.
That poor finish gave Anthony no choice but to look at other teams, given the Knicks’ salary-cap restraints and the difficulty of making enough changes to make them a contender next season.
He traveled around the country to listen to pitches, before the Knicks went to Los Angeles on July 3, offering him the max contract.
That was one of what Jackson said was perhaps five different proposals the Knicks made. Anthony has said he was open to taking less than the max and Jackson has said he hoped the star would to give the team more flexibility in the future.
Anthony spent the first 7 1/2 seasons of his career in Denver but let the Nuggets know in the summer of 2010 that he wanted a trade to New York. He finally got it the following February, the Knicks sending four of their top six players to Denver to make the deal.
New York gave Anthony and his actress wife the bigger platform they sought, but it hasn’t brought him any closer to a championship. The Knicks did win the Atlantic Division and reach the second round of the playoffs in 2013, when Anthony led the league in scoring, but they quickly fell backward this season.
That was no fault of Anthony, who averaged 27.4 points and 8.1 rebounds in 77 games. But he didn’t have nearly enough help, and the Knicks probably can’t provide it until next summer, when the contracts of Amare Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani come off their books.
“There’s no instantaneous winner that we think is going to happen to the Knicks right now, but we’re going to be a lot better,” Jackson said recently.
That was only going to happen if Anthony stayed, and the Knicks finally have word that he will.
AP Basketball Writer Jon Krawczynski contributed to this report.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.