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Sunday, February 2, 2014
LeBron: Melo wants a chance to win

By Ian Begley

NEW YORK -- LeBron James is one of Carmelo Anthony's closest friends in basketball.

But he’s not a psychic.

So, no, he doesn’t know what Carmelo’s thinking when it comes to free agency.

But he does know this: Melo wants an opportunity to win.

“He loves to play basketball and just like the rest of us, we want to win. That’s the number one thing,” James said before leading the Miami Heat to a win over the New York Knicks on Saturday. “When you do something your whole life, you want to win at it and you want to work at it. You don’t want it to be easy but you want to give yourself an opportunity to win. But I don’t know what’s going through his mind.”

Anthony's made it clear that the opportunity to win will be among his top priorities this summer during free-agency.

So what does that mean for the Knicks?

New York (19-28) has performed well below expectations this season.

“At this point, we’re taking it game by game,” Anthony said on Saturday. “I can’t look at the standings.”

Earlier in the week, Carmelo said winning a title is the only thing that will motivates him these days.

“That’s the only thing I care about. Anything else is irrelevant to me when it comes to basketball,” Anthony said. “Championship is the only thing that’s on my mind, is the only thing I want to accomplish, I want to achieve, and I’m going to do what I got to do to get that. That’s my motivating factor. Nothing else even motivates me anymore, just that.”

That statement on its own isn’t a big deal. But when you consider Carmelo’s future free-agency, it becomes significant.

Does Carmelo think the Knicks can put him in the best position to win? Or does he see another franchise -- the Chicago Bulls? the Los Angeles Lakers? the Dallas Mavericks? -- giving him a better shot to win the Larry O’Brien Trophy?

For what it’s worth, James thinks New York has the talent and coaching to compete in the Eastern Conference.

“I think they’ve been playing some great basketball of late and they have ups and downs,” James said before tipoff on Saturday. “They win four in a row, they lose five, they win four, they lose five, whatever the case may be but they have very good talent, they have a good coach, and we’ll see what happens.”

Whenever you talk about Carmelo’s free agency, it should be noted that it makes the most financial sense for him to re-sign with the Knicks.

With New York, Anthony could ink a maximum five-year contract worth $129,135,806. If he signs with another team, the maximum he can earn is $95,897,372 over four years, according to calculations by ESPN salary-cap expert Larry Coon.

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