Carmelo Anthony is staying home.
One day after LeBron James announced that he is leaving Miami and going home to Cleveland, Anthony and the Knicks were completing an agreement that will keep the seven-time All-Star in New York for the next five years, a league source confirmed Saturday.
An announcement from Anthony is expected to come Sunday, the source said.
"It's exciting to hear that it's still possible and at least it's closer to being real," said Derek Fisher, who is coaching the Knicks' summer league team. "It's getting closer to sounding like Carmelo will be rejoining our team. I think it's great news. I'm definitely encouraged about what I'm hearing."
Anthony, who forced a trade from the Nuggets to the Knicks three years ago, met with the Knicks, Bulls, Rockets, Mavericks and Lakers during the 12 days leading up to Sunday's expected announcement.
Knicks president Phil Jackson wouldn't take questions from the media Saturday. Anthony, a free agent for the first time in his 11-year career, wants to break the news himself -- perhaps on Twitter or his website. Jackson will speak to reporters after Anthony makes his announcement and the deal becomes official.
"We don't have anything yet to stack up, so rather than talk about it, I won't," Jackson said. "We'll wait. We'll be there."
The two sides were working out the final details of a contract that would pay Anthony upward of $120 million, the source said. The Knicks offered Anthony a maximum five-year, $129 million deal, but multiple reports said he might take less if it gives the Knicks flexibility to sign other players. He has said he would be willing to do that.
Anthony will be the focal point of Jackson's triangle offense and the centerpiece of his plan to build the Knicks into a championship contender.
"I'm excited and obviously would be honored to have the chance to work with one of the greatest players in the last 10 years in the NBA," Fisher said.
Jackson said Thursday afternoon that he expected a positive outcome in the Anthony sweepstakes and that the two were on the same page after their July 3 meeting in Los Angeles. He said, "We really struck a chord."
As the days went on and Anthony hadn't made a decision, speculation grew that he would leave New York. He reportedly was "torn" as he chose between the Knicks and the Bulls.
Anthony said playing for a team with a chance to compete for a championship was his priority. The Bulls could have given him that chance sooner, but they could offer him only a four-year deal worth between $70 million and $75 million. Their hopes were deflated Saturday, the Chicago Tribune reported, when they were told Anthony would stay with the Knicks.
The Lakers reportedly offered Anthony a four-year, $96-million deal that would have given him an opportunity to play with his good friend Kobe Bryant and in Los Angeles, where he lives in the offseason. But the Lakers are unlikely to contend in the loaded Western Conference.
The Knicks still have work to do to become Eastern Conference contenders, but they have a better chance with Anthony, who led the NBA in scoring at 28.7 points per game in 2012-13 and averaged 27.4 points in 2013-14, finishing second to the Thunder's Kevin Durant (32.0).
As of now, the Knicks have only the $3.2 million taxpayer midlevel exception and minimum contracts to offer free agents. They also have a $3.6 million trade exception from the six-player trade with Dallas that Jackson made last month.
Jackson has been trying to open money by trading Amar'e Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani for smaller salaries or non-guaranteed deals. Stoudemire and Bargnani, whose salaries total $34.9 million, will come off the books after the 2014-15 season. Next year's free-agent class could include James (who has an opt-out in his Cavaliers contract), Rajon Rondo, LaMarcus Aldridge, Kevin Love and Marc Gasol. Durant is the prize of the 2016 class.
Jackson already had upgraded the roster with the acquisition of point guard Jose Calderon from Dallas. That deal and Anthony's return gives the Knicks 10 point guards and wing players, so Jackson will try to trade some of them to balance the roster. But it was important that they didn't let Anthony get away.
"I'm excited," second-year guard Tim Hardaway Jr. said. "I'm happy. He had to make the decision that was best for him and his family. Thankfully, he made the right one."
The Dolan family owns
controlling interests in
the Knicks, Madison Square
Garden and Cablevision.
Cablevision owns Newsday.