Knicks' Carmelo Anthony questioned choice to stay, but looks to next year

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Carmelo Anthony believes there are better days coming for the New York Knicks, but he briefly second-guessed his decision to re-sign with New York because of the team's struggles this season.

"I try to keep myself from thinking like that. But as a human being, those thoughts definitely come into play. You sit down at night and you're thinking, 'Did I really make the right decision?' and just things like that," Anthony said Thursday at the team's training facility. "Not often did I think about that. There was one point in time this season where it was just cloudy and I didn't really have any clarity; I was second-guessing what I did and the decision I made. But after that, I was smooth sailing."

Anthony signed a five-year, $124 million contract with New York last summer and endured a rough season. The Knicks finished the season at 17-65 -- the worst season in franchise history -- and Anthony played just 40 games. His season ended in February with knee surgery.

The Knicks are projected to have at least $25 million in cap space and will have a top-5 pick in the NBA draft. Anthony is optimistic that team president Phil Jackson can turn things around, but he acknowledged that this summer is Jackson's time to "step up to the plate."

"That was one of the reasons I decided to come back. For me to have faith in [Jackson] and believe in his capabilities," Anthony said. "[This is] kind of like a clean slate for us and for him. Now we really get a chance and he really gets a chance to put a stamp on what we want this organization to be about, what he wants this team to be about, what players he wants in here."

Anthony later added: "This next season for me and for the organization and for Phil, this is where we earn our money."

Jackson has said that he'd like to add at least two starting-caliber players in free agency this summer. The Knicks -- and many other teams in the NBA -- are also expected to have cap space for the summer of 2016, when big-name free agents such as Kevin Durant are expected to test the market.

Anthony, 30, was asked whether he'd be willing to be the second option on the team if Jackson brought in another star player. "Oh yeah, I don't have a problem with that. If I had a chance to be the second option, I will definitely be the second option," Anthony said. "That just takes the load off of me. For me, I don't have to go out there and do it every night. So I think everybody, All-Star players, we want that light, we want to be the focal point of our team, of our organization. But if we get somebody to come in and help us out, that's a load off of us. That's helpful to me, that's helpful to the other star that's coming in, that's helpful to the whole team."

Anthony said he would help recruit free agents if Jackson and general manager Steve Mills asked for his assistance. He also addressed the possibility of trading the first-round pick for an established star.

Jackson and Mills have said that they will listen to offers for the pick but would prefer to keep it. Anthony agreed with that approach, saying that the Knicks should keep the pick and add veterans via free agency.

"This year we have money and cap space. So if we do want to take our pick, then we still have almost $30 million in cap space to kind of make some plays, make some big plays," Anthony said. "So I think you do have to start, I think you need a draft pick. I think if we get the top pick, we take our chances with who we draft, regardless of who that is, and we build other pieces around that with the money that we have."