Carmelo Anthony almost left the New York Knicks for Chicago

Carmelo Anthony, Brooklyn Nets. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Carmelo Anthony, Brooklyn Nets. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

Former New York Knicks All-Star Carmelo Anthony opened up recently about almost leaving the team during 2014 free agency for the Chicago Bulls.

Carmelo Anthony hasn’t had the best of luck since requesting a trade from the New York Knicks in 2017 and currently finds himself without a team this summer. The embattled 10-time All-Star visited ESPN’s First Take talk show to speak with Stephen A. Smith in hopes of answering the many questions that hover over him and eventually clear his name.

Anthony hasn’t played in the NBA since being dismissed from the Houston Rockets in November of 2018 and is very eager to return to the game he loves. During his interview, Friday morning, the former Olympic Gold Medalist spoke candidly about his poor experiences that past few years and even commented on his free agency decision to remain with the Knicks in 2014. Anthony gave more details to his initial choice that summer, which initially was the Chicago Bulls at the top of his wishlist.

Teams interested around that time included the Rockets as well, but it appears Anthony had stronger feelings for Chicago even more than New York as he told Smith during his live interview.

"“I was going to Chicago. Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, I was there, right? I was there,” Anthony said. “And then I started getting whispers behind the scenes. Yo, look, this person ain’t gonna be there. It ain’t really right. This and that. It was all of that started to come up in the midst of my decision making. I wasn’t gonna let anything cloud that. I met with New York (Knicks) last. Like, I think it was the last team I met with because I knew that I was ready to move on from that situation because of what I was dealing with and going through in New York.”"

The Bulls were a perennial playoff team at this point with a younger and healthier core missing one more big piece to contend for a title indeed. Anthony was on top of his game and could’ve provided the much-needed firepower with his proficient scoring helping to carry the load for Derrick Rose. The 2014-15 Bulls finished the season 50-32 while reaching the conference semifinals losing to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in six games.

Anthony instead remained in New York agreeing on a five-year contract worth $124 million taking $5 million less than the maximum at that period. New York wouldn’t come close to the playoffs for the rest of Anthony’s tenure but ironically had two Bulls players in Rose and Noah join their team in 2016.

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In retrospect Knicks, fans will be annoyed by this situation being brought up five years later, but it’s still impressive that Anthony didn’t go with his gut and head to Chicago. It’s safe to say Anthony is truly a New Yorker and that may have gotten the best of him during that critical point in his career.