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NBA PM: Jackson Wants Anthony to Take Pay Cut

Phil Jackson wants Carmelo Anthony to stay “true to his word” and take a pay cut to stay with the Knicks this summer … Goran Dragic wins Most Improved Player award with ease. … Allen Iverson documentary is coming

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Updated 12 months ago on
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Jackson Wants Anthony to Take Pay Cut

At this year’s All-Star game in New Orleans, Carmelo Anthony stood in front of a horde of journalists and proclaimed that he wants to remain with the New York Knicks. In fact, he even said that he’d be willing to take a pay cut if it allowed the organization to upgrade the roster and get closer to contending.

“I came to New York saying that I want to retire a Knick and that’s not something I was just bullshitting about,” Anthony said during the All-Star break. “I said it, I meant it and that’s how I feel. I still feel strongly about that. That’s why, at the end of the season, that’s the time that everything has to be laid out on the table, from both parties. If there’s something we can grow or build on to compete at the highest level, then we’re rolling. If that’s not the plan, then we have to talk about something else. At the end of the day, that’s my first priority – to stay. That’s my first priority. Let’s figure it out. Let’s figure it out together, what we have to do. Just because I said I want to be a free agent doesn’t mean that I want to leave. I’ve never been a guy that comes into a situation and then, when it’s not going well, leaves. That’s not my character. That’s not my personality.

“Without a doubt, without a doubt, without a doubt, [I’d be willing to take a pay cut]. Any opportunities that I can have to kind of build that up in New York, I’ll do it. I tell people all the time, if it takes me taking a pay cut, I’ll be the first one on Mr. [James] Dolan’s step saying, ‘Take my money, and let’s build something strong.’ … As far as the money man, it don’t really matter to me. If I go somewhere else, I get paid. If I stay in New York, I get paid. So as far as the money goes, that’s not my concern. My concern is being able to compete at a high level, at a championship level, coming at this last stretch of my career. I want to be able to compete at that level.”

Phil Jackson, the Knicks’ new president, wants to hold Anthony to those comments. While addressing reporters at the Tarrytown facility this afternoon, Jackson made it clear that he wants Anthony to take a pay cut, since signing ‘Melo to a maximum contract would pay him $129 million over five years and significantly restrict the Knicks moving forward.

“I like to appeal to his better nature of winning,” Jackson told the New York Post. “I think that’s what we want to do. There’s some obvious examples that everyone can point to. Tim Duncan making the salary he’s making after being part of a dynasty – not a dynasty, but they’re a great force. He agreed to take a salary cut so other players can play with him so they can be this good. That’s the beginning of team play. The group down in Miami agreed to take less money to play together.

“A precedent has been set. Because the way things are structured now financially for teams, it’s really hard to have two top stars or max players and be on a team with enough talent. You got to have people making sacrifices financially. We hope Carmelo is true to his word, and we understand what it’s going to take and present it to him at that time.”

By holding Anthony “true to his word” and pointing out other star players who took a significant pay cut for the good of their team, Jackson is putting the heat on ‘Melo to take less money.

If Anthony signs a max contract, he’ll make $22.457 million next season, $24.1 million in 2015-16, $25.8 million in 2016-17, $27.5 million in 2017-18 and $29.2 million in 2018-19. That’s right, he’d be making $29.2 million at 34 years old. If New York isn’t prepared to offer Anthony a max contract, this could help teams like the Chicago Bulls and Houston Rockets, both of whom are expected to pursue Anthony once he becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Today, Jackson was asked if it would be a disaster if Anthony didn’t re-sign. Jackson response was interesting: “I’m all about moving forward. Deal with what is and move forward. If it’s in the cards, man, we’re fortunate. If it’s not in the cards, man, are we fortunate? We’re going forward anyway.”

Anthony and Jackson met after the Knicks’ 37-45 season came to a disappointing end. Jackson felt that the exit meeting was a positive step for the team as they try to right the ship.

“I thought it went well,” Jackson said of his exit meeting with Anthony. “I thought all our players put something into it. I challenged them with idea of going into the meetings and telling me how they’re going to help the team next year. I think most of them did.”

While addressing the media, Jackson also denied a report that said he was clashing with Knicks owner James Dolan, who wasn’t allowing him to make certain personnel decisions. Jackson says that there is no friction between he and Dolan and that the owner has allowed him to make all of the franchise’s basketball decisions, as he was promised.

“As far as Jim Dolan’s promise or his premise when I took this job that’s he’s going to leave basketball decisions up to me, really, he’s been loyal to that promise,” Jackson told ESPN. “And going forward from last week through this week, just wanting to talk to [ex-Knicks coach] Mike [Woodson] when we were through talking to him, the staff — it’s all our decision. He’s been very true to his word to this point.”

It remains to be seen if Anthony will be “true to his word” and actually take a significant pay cut this summer.

Dragic Wins Most Improved Player Award With Ease

Phoenix’s Goran Dragic, who helped lead the Suns to a 23-win improvement while establishing career highs in scoring and field goal percentage, is the winner of the 2013-14 Kia NBA Most Improved Player Award, the NBA announced today. The annual award is presented to a player who has made a significant improvement from the previous season.

Dragic received 408 of a possible 1,134 points, including 65 first-place votes, from a panel of 126 sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada. Lance Stephenson of the Indiana Pacers (158 points, 13 first-place votes) and Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans (155 points, 16 first-place votes) finished second and third, respectively. Players were awarded five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote and one point for each third place vote received.

Dragic, who entered the 2013-14 campaign with a career scoring average of 9.5 points, averaged a career-best 20.3 points to go with 5.9 assists and 3.2 rebounds, as the Suns finished with a record of 48-34, one game behind the Dallas Mavericks, who claimed the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. He shot a career-best .505 from the field, including a .408 mark from behind the three-point arc. He was the only player in the NBA to shoot at least 50 percent from the field and 40 percent from three-point range. Dragic started 75 of the 76 games he appeared in, and helped keep the Suns in playoff contention, despite the extended absence of teammate Eric Bledsoe, who was limited to 43 games this season.

Earlier this season, Dragic spoke about how he was able to have a breakout season.

“I’m more relaxed,” Dragic told Basketball Insiders. “I know all of the situations I’m put in and I know how the opposing teams are going to guard me. I’m just more relaxed. It feels like I’m playing basketball with my friends back home, with no pressure. I just go out there and do my job. I’ve gotten some great support from my teammates and I’m just having fun. It’s not like I’m thinking too much or anything. I’m just having fun.”

Iverson Documentary Playing at Tribeca Film Festival

Allen Iverson is getting his own movie.

“Iverson” the documentary will make its world premiere on April 27 at the Tribeca Film Festival. The film seems really well done and should be a must-see for all basketball fans.

Here is a trailer for the documentary:

http://youtu.be/qzCtfarMEA8

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Alex Kennedy is the Managing Editor of Basketball Insiders and this is his 10th season covering the NBA. He is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

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