Carmelo Anthony believes the New York Knicks need to be aggressive in bolstering their roster this offseason if they hope to contend again soon.
The superstar forward said he spoke with team president Phil Jackson this week, and although Melo said it was a "good" talk, he still seemed anxious about the personnel upgrades the front office will make.
"It's in their court. The ball is in their court," Anthony said of Jackson and Company, per Ian Begley of ESPN.com. "They have an opportunity, we have an opportunity to do something this offseason. We gotta do something. It's there.”
Yet based on Anthony's comments, his conversation with Jackson likely eased his mind somewhat, per Marc Berman of the New York Post: "I got some answers. That’s what I was looking for. I’ll leave it at that. This was a conversation out of all conversations we had, it was more open and dialogue from both sides. Not just one-sided. The questions were asked. Pretty standard questions. Questions you can answer easily."
At 28-40, the Knicks are seven games out of the final playoff spot and will likely miss the postseason for the third straight year.
New York will have at least $18 million to spend this summer, per Begley, which isn’t enough for a max contract. That figure could rise given the astronomical increase to the salary cap, which will reportedly reach up to $108 million next season, per Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress—a 32.3 percent spike.
But the rest of the league will also have more financial flexibility to pursue top free agents.
"It's kind of an even playing field, so you've just got to hit the ground running," Anthony said, per Begley.
Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant said Sunday after the Lakers' loss to New York that the Knicks need to be patient with Jackson’s plan and know they have one of the game’s greatest masterminds at the helm. Bryant won five titles with Jackson as his head coach.
"The people in New York need to trust the fact he knows more about the game than any of them put together," Bryant said, per Berman. "... I think we don’t win any of those championships without him, I don’t think Chicago wins any of those championships without him."
A big reason the Knicks are strapped for cash is Anthony’s max deal that pays him an average of $24.8 million per season with three years remaining, per Spotrac.
Anthony opted to return to the Knicks two seasons ago for the highest possible dollar figure rather than seek out a chance to play with a contender. It appears the decision could be catching up to him.