Report: Carmelo Anthony to inform Knicks later today he is returning

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After seeing what the rest of the NBA has to offer, it appears Carmelo Anthony is set to return to New York. As we basically all expected anyway. From Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

Carmelo Anthony will sign a five-year, $120 million-plus contract to return to the New York Knicks, league sources told Yahoo Sports….

Anthony might still take less than the maximum $129 million the Knicks can give him, a source said.

Not much less if it is north of $120 million.

Anthony’s return had been predicted earlier in the week by Frank Isola but everyone — including the Knicks — got more nervous as word never came. Word came that the Bulls were back in the mix.

However with LeBron James choosing Cleveland the options for Carmelo started to dry up — he could not join forces with LeBron, he told the Lakers it was not happening (one has to assume the Lakers heard that before they traded for Jeremy Lin and overpaid Jordan Hill), and the Rockets were never really in play. That left the Bulls, the best chance to win now, but choosing Chicago means leaving in the neighborhood of $40-$55 million on the table — I don’t care how much money you’ve made, that’s a lot of scratch. The Bulls have spent the last 24 hours focused on landing Pau Gasol, convinced that Anthony wasn’t coming and they needed to move on with Plan B sooner rather than later. The Bulls were informed earlier on Saturday their hunch was right.

Anthony always had his heart in New York, here is what he told PBT back at the All-Star Game when asked about his future:

“At the end of the day that’s my first priority, to stay. That’s my first priority. My priority is to figure it out, let’s figure it out together… My priority is not to just because I say I want to be a free agent, is to go leave. I never was a guy that comes into a situation and basically when it’s not going well to leave like that. That’s not my personality….

“I came to New York, and I said it before, I wanted to retire a Knick. That’s not something I would bull—- with, I said it, I meant it. That’s how I feel….

“That’s why at the end of the season everything needs to be laid out on the table. From both parties. If that’s something we can grow with, we can build on, we can compete with at the highest level, then we’re rolling. If that’s not the plan that they have, then we got to talk about something else.”

He wanted to see a plan. He got Phil Jackson.

That worked.

New York always had a couple other things going for it.

First, max money. The Knicks could always offer more than anyone else, $129 million over five years. Yes, Carmelo has made a lot of money over the years but this is a business and you take as much as you can get when you can.

Second, it’s where his heart is. He grew up a Knicks fan and he loves being the main man on the star team at the heart of the biggest media market in the nation. There is a buzz around every game the Knicks play at home, it’s unlike any other market. It’s hard to walk away from that feeling.

In the end, he couldn’t.