James said Anthony should do "whatever makes him happy" in free agency this summer.
New York Knicks
"You got to do whatever makes [you] happy at the end of the day. If you’re happy, the game of basketball is going to be fun for you," James said. "Strive to be great every day, and you can live with whatever else happens."
James and Anthony are close. So they've probably had an iteration of this conversation in private at some point.
Anthony, as you know, will test free agency this summer. So will he be happy staying in New York? That question is impossible to answer right now.
Financially, it makes the most sense for Anthony to re-sign with the Knicks. He can ink a five-year, $129 million contract with New York. If he signs with another team, he'd ink a four-year contract worth approximately $30 million less. Those numbers are based on the assumption that Anthony signgs a max contract.
James can opt out of his contract with the Heat as well, if he so chooses. The four-time MVP has been through free-agency before. In 2010, he opted to take less than "max money" to join forces with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami. The star trio has won two titles.
James was asked on Thursday if he'd recommend that Carmelo take less money in free agency this summer.
"I recommend it to me. It fit me," James said. "What I do don’t work for everybody. The way I live my life don’t work for everybody. But all I cared about is winning. I came to Miami to win. Money didn’t make me happy. Winning made me happy, and it still does. At the end of the day, that’s what matters to me."
James, for what it's worth, believes Anthony is committed to winning as well. That would be one reason for Anthony to potentially take less then a maximum contract, a la James. "I know he wants to win. I know he can win," James said. "... this is what we’re here for. Here to win. You dream about winning a championship. He’s trying to figure out the way to do it."
If Anthony chooses to take less than max money, it could help the team he signs with attract other free agents, whether that's the Knicks or another team.
It could broaden his potential suitors.
Right now, there are few teams in major markets who would have the cap space to sign him to a max deal. Chicago and the Los Angeles Lakers seem to be in position to sign Anthony to a max contract. But Bryant's recent extension would leave the Lakers without much cap space if they signed Anthony to a max contract.
Anthony has stated a desire to retire as a Knick. But he's also said that he wants to be courted.
James hasn't spoken publicly about his possible free-agency.
"It's easier, I'm in Miami and he’s in New York. The New York media is a little bit different than it is in Miami," James said. "You guys don’t take no for an answer."
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