Boeheim: Bulls, not Knicks, better for Melo

WEST POINT, N.Y. -- If Carmelo Anthony had based his free-agency decision this summer purely on basketball, Jim Boeheim believes that he would have been better off in Chicago than New York.

"Just from a basketball point of view it would have been better to go to Chicago because they've got better players," Boeheim, who coached Anthony on Syracuse's national championship team in 2003, said on Monday. "But he wanted to be in New York and he wants to see if they can turn it around there. I think that's a great thing."

Anthony re-signed with the Knicks over the summer, inking a five-year, $124 million contract. The Bulls had enough cap space to offer Anthony a $74 million contract -- or more than $50 million less than the Knicks. The Bulls could have increased their offer to Anthony to a max contract of four years and $96 million by acquiring him via a sign and trade. But the Knicks never discussed a sign and trade with Chicago.

Boeheim's belief that the Bulls are currently a better team than the Knicks isn't unfounded. Chicago boasts a team featuring Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and the newly signed Pau Gasol.

"I think anybody would agree with that. That’s not rocket science," Boeheim said after Team USA practiced at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Boeheim also said that Anthony probably would have left New York if Phil Jackson hadn't taken over as president of the team.

"I would think so. He stayed because he believes Phil," Boeheim said. "Derek Fisher, he knows the game. If you’re going to pick a coach who hasn’t coached, he would be the guy I would pick. I think he’s a great choice. I talked to Derek a little bit. I think he’s really smart. I think he’ll be a really good coach. I think they’ll show significant improvement this year. If they get a couple of guys down the road, I think they’ll be good."

Added Boeheim: "The bottom line is that [Anthony] wanted to stay in New York and he feels that they'll be significantly better this year. A few moves, a different look, a more consistent approach. And then it comes down to can you attract a couple guys? Maybe not the guy -- but a couple good players to get you back on the right road."

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