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Carmelo Anthony Declines Hypothetical Offer To Play For Bucks For More Money

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Last season, before the NBA ended, Carmelo Anthony forced a trade from the Denver Nuggets to the New York Knicks. The Nuggets were a pretty good team at 32-25 at the time. They were even better without him (more accurately, without him and with a few productive new players), closing the season winning 18 of 25 games and then stealing a game against the Thunder in the playoffs. The Knicks were 28-26 before Anthony arrived, beat the Bucks in their first game with Anthony, and some people who had not spent the previous four and a half months watching the Bucks (good decision) thought the Knicks were a new force in the East (bad decision). The Knicks went 14-14 with Anthony and were swept by the Celtics in the first round.

The apparently semi-permanent offseason continues in part because smaller-market teams and their owners -- the Milwaukee Bucks and Herb Kohl among them -- desire the opportunity to compete with their bigger-market brethren, for stars, like Anthony. It's more complicated than that, excruciatingly so, but this isn't the story to link to all of those stories. The built-in advantages that teams like the Knicks have by virtue of being the Knicks (profitability through television contracts, a massive fan base, etc.) make it possible for them to absorb relatively minor luxury tax penalties that might be inflicted upon them for signing Anthony, Amare Stoudemire, and say, Chris Paul next year.

These days, we hear a lot about competitive balance. But as Alan Hahn at Newsday notes, star players like Anthony will naturally shun smaller-market teams regardless of any deal.

Carmelo Anthony was recently posed with a hypothetical: What if the Milwaukee Bucks had the ability to offer more money than the Knicks. Would you go to Milwaukee or sign with the Knicks?

"I'd still go to New York," he said.

Hahn proceeds to detail why and how the Knicks would still have the chance to to corral the likes of Paul under the latest, no hard-cap proposal.

The new agreement prohibits the extend-and-trade, but you are permitted to acquire a player with an expiring contract or an opt-out and then sign him to an extension after a six-month waiting period.

So, if a deal is reached, the Knicks could attempt to trade for Paul in December and technically be allowed to sign him to an extension by June, before he hits free agency.

So, Anthony would not accept an offer for more money to play on a comparable team that desperately needs an offensive star because that team is, well, in short, because they are the Milwaukee Bucks. Obviously, Anthony has no incentive (and plenty of disincentives) to say that he would rather play for more money with the Bucks at this point, but I am led to believe him here. Fortunately (fortunately), the Bucks in fact do not have the money to throw at Anthony. And coincidentally, even if they did, they probably would not. The excitement around the evolving hypothetical expands.

Now that we know (now that it has been confirmed) that Anthony, a New York native, would rather play for the Knicks for less money than play with the Bucks, the question is this:

Would you, a Bucks devotee, play for the Bucks for less money? In this hypothetical, you are you, except much, much better at basketball than you.