Carmelo Anthony says he is willing to accept less money to re-sign with the Knicks if it helps the team attract big-name free agents, according to published reports.
"Without a doubt,'' Anthony said Friday while in New Orleans for All-Star Weekend. "Any opportunity I have to build that up in New York, I'd do it. I told people all the time, always say, 'If it takes me taking a pay cut, I'll be the first one on [Knicks owner] Mr. [James] Dolan's steps saying take my money and let's build something strong over here.'"
Anthony has said he plans to opt out of the final year of his contract and test free agency this summer.
He said Friday that his "first priority" is to re-sign with the Knicks, who are 12 games under .500 at the All-Star break.
"I've never been a guy that comes into a situation, when it's not going well, to leave," Anthony said. "That's not my personality."
If Anthony re-signs for the maximum allowed under the current rules of the collective bargaining agreement, his contract would be worth $129 million over five seasons.
"I'm going to make money. I have money. I'm good if I want to retire right now," Anthony said in an interview with Sage Steele and Tim Legler on ESPN's "SportsCenter."
He expanded on that in an interview with other media in New Orleans.
"As far as the money, it don't really matter to me,'' Anthony said. "If I go somewhere else, I get paid. If I stay in New York, I get paid. As far as the money goes, it's not my concern.
"My concern is to be able to compete on a high level, a championship level, coming in this last stretch of my career. I want to compete at that level."
If Anthony takes less money, it might give the Knicks more cap space to pursue the marquee players who are expected to test free agency in summer 2015, players such as Rajon Rondo and Kevin Love.
"I have a chance to attract some people to come to New York," Anthony said on "SportsCenter." "I think playing in New York -- and everybody saw this last year, how electrified that city was. The organization, the team, how much fun we had as a team when we was playing good basketball. So I want to kind of bring that back to New York. And if I can become a free agent to make that happen, then I want to do that."
However, if Anthony takes less money, it will not help the Knicks pursue free agents this coming offseason. Even if he agreed to a $1 contract for 2014-15, the Knicks would be over the cap due in large part to the salaries of Amar'e Stoudemire ($23.4 million), Tyson Chandler ($14.6 million) and Andrea Bargnani ($11.5 million).
With the Knicks (20-32) performing well below expectations, many have speculated that coach Mike Woodson could be fired during the All-Star break.
Anthony dispelled that notion.
"We got practice in Memphis on Monday, and Woody will be there. Plain and simple," Anthony said.
Many also have speculated that due to the Knicks' rough season, Anthony would consider signing elsewhere. If he signs with another team, the maximum contract he can get is a four-year deal worth $96 million.
There also has been speculation that the Knicks would consider trading Anthony prior to Thursday's deadline if they believed he wasn't going to re-sign this summer.
On Friday, Anthony said he doesn't think the Knicks are considering trading him.
"When is the trade deadline? I don't think there's no way possible I'll be traded," he said. "I don't think they're even considering it.
"If they feel they want to get rid of me, we'd already have had that conversation. I don't think that. I know for a fact I'm not being traded, and I know for a fact I'm not going in there saying I want to be traded.''
He also reiterated that he'd like to retire as a Knick.
Anthony said Friday that his willingness to re-sign will depend on how the Knicks plan to build a winner around him.
"At the end of the season, [that] is the time that everything has to be laid out on the table, from both parties," he said. "If it's something that we can grow with, we can build on, we can compete at the highest level, then we're rolling."
Anthony added that he'd like to speak with the Knicks' front office after the season about its future plans.
"I haven't had any in-depth conversations with management about who I want to play with, what kind of team we should have. I've never had those conversations," he said. "That time is going to come. And when that time comes, everything will be laid out on the table. If they can counter that, then we have a long future ahead of us."