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What a Melo paycut would mean for Knicks

2/14/2014

Carmelo Anthony is willing to take a pay cut to stay with the Knicks. Here's a quick look at what that means for the franchise, and for Anthony.

Won't help in 2014: No matter how much money Anthony leaves on the table, the Knicks will likely be over the cap in 2014.

If both Amar’e Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani remain on the roster (as expected), the Knicks' payroll would be over the projected salary-cap line of $62.9 million, even without Carmelo, as Justin Page from ESPN Stats & Info notes here in a great breakdown of the implications of Anthony’s free agency.

So if Anthony agrees to take less money to re-sign with the Knicks this summer, it will save owner James Dolan money on his luxury-tax bill only. The only way that will change is if Knicks president/GM Steve Mills swings a major trade to send Stoudemire, Bargnani or Tyson Chandler to another city.

Looms large for 2015: Anthony's pay cut would have a greater impact in the summer of 2015. That summer, the Knicks are expected to be heavy players in free agency because the current deals for Bargnani, Stoudemire and Chandler come off the books.

If Anthony signs a max deal, his salary in the 2015-16 season will be $24,142,789, and the Knicks would have five players under contract at a total salary of $39,492,533. They'd also have a first-round pick.

This assumes that both J.R. Smith and Raymond Felton pick up their respective player options for 2015-16. It also assumes that the Knicks offer Iman Shumpert a qualifying offer, he accepts and the Knicks don't pick up the team option on Pablo Prigioni's contract.

If that's the case, then Anthony's pay cut would pay dividends in that summer. It would give the Knicks more flexibility to pursue max free agents such as Kevin Love and Rajon Rondo and should leave them with room to add other players on the market.

No sure thing that he re-signs: Anthony said that his "first priority" is to re-sign with the Knicks this summer, but he also made it clear he needs the Knicks to produce a clear plan that will lead to a title. He's said several times that winning an NBA championship is his top priority.

So it's on Mills and the rest of the Knicks front office to convince Anthony they can build a championship-caliber team around him.

If not?

"If that's not the plan that they have, then we've got to talk about something else," Anthony told reporters in New Orleans.

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