Full court press to recruit Carmelo Anthony begins, Knicks get first shot

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Up until July 1, the New York Knicks are the only team that can talk with Carmelo Anthony officially. The guy about to take advantage of his free agent status — he is going to opt out and he wants the “full Dwight Howard treatment” of being recruited — is in a holding pattern for most teams.

The Knicks are trying to take advantage of that exclusive window.

Despite reports they already met, Phil Jackson, newly hired coach Derek Fisher and the rest of the Knicks brain trust will be in Los Angeles this weekend to woo Anthony, reports Adrain Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

The New York Knicks are sending a high-level delegation – including president Phil Jackson and owner James Dolan – to Los Angeles this weekend to sell All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony on a future with the franchise, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

For Anthony, who plans to become a free agent July 1, this meeting will likely include his first chance for a face-to-face with new Knicks coach Derek Fisher, sources said.

Despite the urgings of Phil Jackson, ‘Melo is going to opt out of his current contract come July 1 (he has until June 23 to formally notify the team). Anthony is going to test the market.

Which means the Knicks have to make their case. New York can offer the chance to be “the man” on the biggest of stages, Derek Fisher has talked about how Anthony would thrive in the triangle, plus the Knicks can offer the most money, although Jackson has urged Anthony to take a pay cut to stay in New York, giving them more flexibility to build around him.

However, if Anthony is going to take a pay cut, why not do so to move to an already built team that can win now? Chicago and Houston are the two teams in the front of that list.

Or how about Dallas? They will have cap space, won 49 games last season and their current alpha dog Dirk Nowitizki told the Dallas Morning News he and Anthony can play well together.

“I think I’ve shown over my career that I can play with anybody. I’ll adjust, whether I have to get out of the way or go to the corner more, post up, pass — I’ll do whatever, really, that needs to be done out there to win or for this franchise to be a winner. If Carmelo would really love to come here, we’d love to have him, and if not, then we’re looking at some other options to make this franchise better and be a winner and be in the playoffs every year again. So whoever comes, whoever does decide to play with us, we’re more excited to have them.”

Dirk is making it known it can work. The Knicks are making their pitch. There will be much, much more coming.

As we have said here before, Anthony ultimately needs to decide what matters most to him. He says winning, but at this point in the process everyone says winning. Is it winning on his own terms, with a team built around him? Is it money? Is it being the biggest star in the biggest market? Is it where his family feels most comfortable? Or is it really just collecting rings?

Those answers should guide Anthony towards his destination. And only he can answer those questions.

But he’s going to get his wish, he’s going to get recruited heavily.