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Knicks’ Jackson Says He’s Asked Anthony to Delay NBA Free Agency

New York Knicks President Phil Jackson said he’s asked Carmelo Anthony to consider not opting out of the final year of his contract and to delay becoming a free agent until 2015.

Anthony, who turned 30 two days ago, has said while he wants to remain with the Knicks, he plans to opt out of his contract and explore free-agency options. Anthony averaged 27.4 points and 8.1 rebounds a game last season, yet the seven-time All-Star missed the playoffs for the first time in his 10-year National Basketball Association career.

“I’ve told him it might be a good idea to hang in here and see what it’s like for a year and go out the next year,” Jackson, who won 11 NBA championships as a coach and took over as Knicks president in March, was quoted as saying on the team’s website.

The Knicks have won one playoff series during Anthony’s first three seasons with the team. They missed the postseason eight of nine years between 2002 and 2010.

As a free agent, Anthony could get a five-year contract from the Knicks worth about $129 million. The maximum he could get from another team is $95.8 million over four seasons.

A member of the Knicks’ only two title-winning teams, Jackson has molded championship teams in his career as a coach, winning six NBA titles in Chicago with Michael Jordan and the Bulls, and five with the Los Angeles Lakers.

“We recognize his talent and skill is the kind of skill and talent that gets you through playoff games where things get sticky,” Jackson said of Anthony. “Suddenly you need a player that has that capability of scoring with someone hanging on them in a situation that is critical. He is one of those few players that can do that.”

Kerr Agreement

Jackson also said yesterday that he had reached an agreement for Steve Kerr to become coach of the Knicks, replacing Mike Woodson, before there was a vacancy with the Golden State Warriors, ESPN reported. Kerr on May 14 spurned the Knicks to sign a five-year, $25 million contract to coach the Warriors.

Jackson said yesterday that his search for a new coach isn’t limited to the NBA and he might consider a college coach, though he wants someone with whom he’s had a prior relationship.

“We know that we’ve gone through some kind of issues together,” Jackson said. “We’ve dealt with some kind of battle situations, we’ve had conflicts, we’ve had disagreements, and we know how to work things out.”

Jackson also said he doesn’t envision a return to the sidelines, saying he’s not physically prepared to take on the grind of coaching.

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