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Carmelo Anthony
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Carmelo Anthony
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Is Phil Jackson really expecting Carmelo Anthony to take a pay cut to remain in New York?

The highly decorated legendary NBA coach and recently installed president of basketball operations for the Knicks hinted as much in a recent New York Daily News interview, telling the newspaper he hopes Anthony is “true to his word.”

That would be Anthony’s February proclamation, the one where the league’s No. 2 overall scorer insisted he’s now at the point in his career where he values winning as much as any chance he might have to pocket a few extra million dollars through any hardline negotiations.

The Knicks can offer Anthony roughly $30 million more than any other would-be suitor after he becomes a free-agent on July 1, but Jackson, sage 11-time NBA coaching champ that he is, realizes that alone still may not be enough. More to the point, Jackson knows the Knicks may not have it to offer, particularly if they’re going to satisfy all the other requirements Anthony seems to have for making an NYC encore.

“There are some obvious examples  that are out there that everybody can point to,” Jackson said of the prospect of Anthony agreeing to take less so the Knicks can do more toward with their goal of quickly turning around their 37-45, non-playoff qualifying season. “Tim Duncan making the salary he’s making after being part of a dynasty. San Antonio has had a wonderful run through Tim’s tenure there as a player, and he’s agreed to take a salary cut so other players can play with him so they can be this good.”

Jackson later added “the group down in Miami agreed to take less money to play together so that’s, I think, a precedent that’s been set. Because the way things have been structured now financially for teams is that it’s really hard to have one or two top stars or max players and to put together a team with enough talent you’ve got to have people making sacrifices financially. So we hope that Carmelo is true to his word and we understand what it’s going to take and we will present that to him at that time.”

Anthony has hinted that he may well take the Dwight Howard approach to arriving at his decision, meaning he may choose to set up shop in NYC and have teams come to him to present their best pitches. In addition to the Knicks, the Bulls, Rockets, Lakers, and Clippers are all known to be interested.

“I want to come back,” Anthony told reporters after the Knicks’ season had officially ended. “But I also want to win. Me wanting to be here, if we can put ourselves in position to at least compete at a high level over the course of whatever — five years — the contract would be, then I’m willing to stay here and I’m willing to ride or die for New York.”