Melo makes it official, announces plan to return to Knicks

Carmelo Anthony personally announces his decision to stick with the Knicks and chase a championship in front of “the greatest fans in the world.”thisismelo.com Carmelo Anthony personally announces his decision to stick with the Knicks and chase a championship in front of “the greatest fans in the world.”

LAS VEGAS — Carmelo Anthony has made it official.

Anthony announced Sunday morning — below the headline “MY CITY, MY HEART” on his website, thisismelo.com — that he will be returning to the Knicks.

The seven-time All-Star also visited the Bulls, Lakers, Rockets and Mavericks since free agency opened on July 1, but Anthony wrote that his “heart never wavered” as he threw his full support behind team president Phil Jackson.

“I will always remember this chapter in my life. In the end, I am a New York Knick at heart,” Anthony wrote. “I am looking forward to continue my career in Orange & Blue and to work with Phil Jackson, a champion who builds championship teams. Madison Square Garden is the mecca of basketball and I am surrounded by the greatest fans in the world.”

The Knicks offered a max deal of $129 million over five years, but it is believed Anthony may have accepted a few million less over the course of his new contract — perhaps around $122 million — to help Jackson with some payroll flexibility.

“After 3 months of questions around Carmelo Anthony’s return to the NY Knicks, we are now happy to know that we have the cornerstone of what we envision as a ‘team of excellence,’” Jackson said Sunday in a statement released by the team on Twitter.

“(GM) Steve Mills and I have assured Carmelo through our conversations, that we share the vision and the determination to build this team.”

NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpiAndrew Theodorakis/New York Daily News Carmelo Anthony is offered a max contract of five years, $129 million but is expected to take a little bit less — possibly $122M — to give the Knicks some payroll flexibility.

First-year coach Derek Fisher, who is in Vegas running the Knicks’ Summer League squad, also was elated to welcome Anthony back to the roster.

“I have had the opportunity to be around some of the greatest players in our game, and now I have the honor of coaching Carmelo,” Fisher said in another statement released by the team. “This is an exciting time for the NY Knicks franchise & our fans. I look forward to working with him & building something special together.”

The Daily News first reported on Wednesday, according to a close friend of Anthony’s, that the star forward “believes in Phil” and was committed to re-signing with the Knicks. The Bulls reentered the picture to cause Anthony to delay that decision, but without a sign-and-trade involving Carlos Boozer, Chicago only could offer him around $75 million over four years and instead have agreed to terms with former Lakers big man Pau Gasol.

“A few years ago I dreamed of coming back to New York City, the place of my birth, and on February 23, 2011 that became a reality. This organization has supported me and in return, I want to stay and build here with this city and my team,” the Brooklyn-born Anthony wrote, referring to his 2011 trade to the Knicks from Denver. “At this pivotal juncture in my career, I owed it to myself and my family to explore all of the options available to me. Through it all, my heart never wavered.

“During this journey I met with some quality organizations who have amazing talent and leadership. I thank them for their consideration, belief in my talent, and opportunity to imagine the possibilities.”

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