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Carmelo Anthony didn't let new NBA TV contract interfere with long-term deal with Knicks

Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony talks to the media

Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony talks to the media during training camp at the Madison Square Garden training facility in Greenburgh, N.Y. on Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014. Credit: Andrew Theodorakis

GREENBURGH, N.Y. - The NBA's new nine-year, $24-billion television contract will lead to players' salaries increasing significantly in 2016, but it doesn't have Carmelo Anthony wishing he had signed a short-term deal.

"I never thought about a two-year deal," Anthony said after practice yesterday. "I didn't want to have to go back and do what I did this summer, not at all. There wasn't a two-year deal discussed. But I'm good, man; five years, man. I don't even want to speak [about a] two-year deal."

The NBA on Monday announced a continued partnership with ABC, ESPN and Turner Sports for nine years. The deal is worth a reported $24 billion and kicks in with the 2016-17 season.

Everyone in the NBA knew a lucrative TV deal was coming and what its impact could be on salaries. It's one of the reasons LeBron James signed for only two years with the Cavaliers with an opt-out after this season.

Anthony chose to get the security of a long-term deal and inked a five-year, $124-million contract with the Knicks after visits with the Bulls, Rockets, Mavericks and Lakers. "I'm good," he said. "The organization is good. We moved forward and everybody is in a good place."

The Knicks, like the rest of the league's teams, will be in a better place financially with this new contract. They wanted to position themselves to be able to sign multiple stars in the summers of 2015 and 2016, and this TV contract will only help them.

Next summer, the Knicks could end up being anywhere from $25 million to $35 million under the projected $66-million salary cap for 2015-16. They could use some of that money on free-agent center Marc Gasol.

Kevin Durant will be a free agent in 2016, and he's on the Knicks' wish list. As of now, only Anthony and Jose Calderon are under contract for 2016-17.

"To speak on the cap space, it opens it up tremendously," Anthony said. "I don't know exactly what the number entails, but I know it now gives teams room to make some moves next year and go from there. I'm pretty sure the front office is looking forward to that."

Knicks coach Derek Fisher, a former president of the players' union, agreed.

"I'm sure management feels great about having more flexibility as far as how to build this team up for years to come," Fisher said. "It doesn't impact me day to day as a coach, so I don't really focus on those things too much."

Fisher will soon enough. It was part of Phil Jackson's negotiations with Anthony. Jackson offered him a maximum contract, but he took roughly $5 million less to give the Knicks a little more wiggle room to sign players in the future.

"We'll keep that internal what we discussed as far as the opportunity and the options of what that $6 million can do," Anthony said. "So we did it, we moved on, and both parties are happy. It'll help us out in the future.

"I was happy to do it when the option came on the table. That's something I thought about extremely hard a lot of nights. And we figured it out."

But it's not all such a rosy future for the NBA, its partners, the owners or the players. There remains the threat of another work stoppage in 2017.

James told reporters in Cleveland that there is "no way" owners can say they are losing money, as they did during the 2011 lockout. "That will not fly with us this time," James said.

Nets guard Deron Williams said the players should be "preparing" for a work stoppage.

"I think before this [TV contract] happened, it was a possibility," said Williams, the Nets' union rep. "I think it's pretty much going in the same direction it was last time. I feel like we made a lot of concessions last time. It's going to be hard for us to do that again."

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