Carmelo Anthony opts out of final year contract with the Knicks

Sport360 staff 05:44 24/06/2014
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In demand: Anthony’s decision to opt out has alerted a host of NBA clubs.

Carmelo Anthony is opting out of the final year of his contract with the New York Knicks to “explore other options” in the NBA.

The 30-year-old, a seven-time NBA All-Star, will not rule out a re­turn to the Knicks but wants to test the free agency market.

Knicks president Phil Jackson had hoped Anthony would con­sider playing out the last year of his contract, worth $23.3 million (Dh85.6m), before testing free agency in 2015.

Anthony’s agent, Leon Rose said: “Carmelo loves being a Knick, he loves the city, and he loves the fans.

“At this stage of his career, he just wants to explore his options.”

Accoring to reports in the United States, the Chicago Bulls, Houston Rockets and Miami Heat are the most reliastic destinations for the 2013 scoring champion but the Dal­las Mavericks and LA Lakers also are interested parties.

New York have an edge under NBA payroll rules when it comes to money of­fers. The Knicks can offer Anthony as much as $129m (Dh473.8m) over five years while his maximum deal for another club would be $96m (Dh352.6m) over four years.

Anthony could accept less than the maximum to help whichever club he selects afford other talent in hopes of building a contender for something Anthony has never won – an NBA title.

Clubs can start talking to free agents on July 1 and agree contract terms, but no deals can be signed until July 10. The Knicks, who last won the NBA title in 1973, failed to make the playoffs in the 2013-14 season, the first time Anthony had failed to do so in his 11-year career.

Meanwhile, an Instagram post­ing by the wife of LeBron James has fanned talk that the Miami Heat superstar will take his talents back to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

James, who grew up near Cleve­land and played for the Cavaliers until departing for Miami as a free agent in 2010, could opt out of his contract with Miami this week and test free agency again.

Savannah James, who is preg­nant with the couple’s third child, posted a photo of a map of the out­line of the state of Ohio late Sun­day night with a star on the city of Akron, James’ hometown, and the caption: “Home sweet home!! The countdown is real! #330.”

The hashtag 330 refers to the tel­ephone area code for Akron, which is only about a 40-minute drive south of Cleveland.

Whether or not it was a hint that James might be leaving Miami for Cleveland, the message added fuel to the idea that James might leave the Heat after winning two titles.

Anthony's options…

New York Knicks 
Why it could happen
Plain and simple, Anthony will receive the most money from the Knicks due to the league’s collective bargaining agreement, which is more lucrative to players who re-sign with their teams.

Why it couldn’t happen
Anthony has spent enough time with the dysfunctional franchise and knows that his best chance at winning means leaving Gotham behind.

Miami Heat
Why it could happen
LeBron James and the Heat know they need to retool and if the ‘Big 3’ are willing to opt out of their contracts and take a pay cut, they can absorb Anthony’s salary.

Why it couldn’t happen
If Dwyane Wade decides to remain on his current deal, or if James takes his talents elsewhere, it would make the Anthony-to-Miami scenario unlikely.

Chicago Bulls
Why it could happen
Chicago have the assets to work a sign-and-trade with New York and adding Anthony to Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah boosts the Bulls into the league’s elite teams.

Why it couldn’t happen
With the salary Anthony commands, Chicago will need to clear significant cap space regardless if they sign him outright or have to negotiate a sign-and-trade.

Houston Rockets
Why it could happen
Houston have an abundance of scoring, but Anthony would be a major upgrade as a small-ball power forward and with James Harden, would give them two top offensive players.

Why it couldn’t happen
Houston needs to open up cap space as well and that will be contingent on Chandler Parsons’ restricted free agency, along with Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik’s tradeability.

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