The Knicks hope to re-sign Carmelo Anthony this summer. But if he were to leave all that extra money on the table to go to the Bulls or another team, it could be a blessing in disguise for the Knicks, according to a former NBA general manager.

"I really think if Carmelo left them, he may be doing them a favor,'' said the ex-GM, who has no ties to the Knicks. "They probably don't see it that way. But in the long run, it's probably doing them a favor.''

The logic is that it would give the Knicks a chance to rebuild. They'll have a boatload of cap space in the summer of 2015 -- when Amar'e Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler and Andrea Bargnani are scheduled to come off the books and Rajon Rondo, Kevin Love and LaMarcus Aldridge could hit the open market -- and a first-round draft pick.

The likely result would be another lean season in 2014-15, but the source -- who has rebuilt teams before -- thinks it could turn around quickly. "New York is the greatest city in the world and the Garden is the best place to play basketball,'' he said. "Guys want to go to play in New York. It's going to hurt for a little bit. But if you have cap space, it's not going to be that hard to get a good player to come to New York.''

The Knicks have gone this route before. They endured some rough years when they were clearing the money they used to sign Stoudemire and collecting the assets to acquire Anthony.

If they choose that path for one year, the ex-GM said their "splash'' this offseason could be trying to hire Phil Jackson to run the basketball department, or signing a high-profile coach such as Billy Donovan or John Calipari.

But Anthony might take the money and re-sign with the hope that the Knicks can become a contender quickly. If so, the former executive said the Knicks shouldn't take back big contracts in any trades unless they're part of a package for a proven star. Otherwise, they should sign players to one-year deals or acquire players on an expiring pact so they don't hurt their flexibility for 2015.

"They need to get complementary players,'' he said, adding of Anthony: "He's 'The Man.' Get those guys that the Sixers got when they had [Allen Iverson] and put guys around him that will play hard, defend, rebound the ball and can hit an open jump shot.''