Let the Carmelo Anthony free agency bonanza begin! Well, almost. According to multiple sources, Anthony has officially decided to opt out of the final year year of his contract with the New York Knicks and become a free agent. He must officially inform the team of his plans by Monday.
Carmelo Anthony has decided to opt out of the final year of his contract with the New York Knicks and become an unrestricted free agent, according to multiple sources.
Anthony has until Monday to officially inform the team of his plans.
This is hardly shocking news. Anthony has been expected to decline his player option next season for some time, even after meeting with new Knicks honchos Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher two weeks ago. The question now is whether or not Carmelo feels comfortable leaving extra guaranteed money on the table. Only New York can offer him a five-year, $129 million contract; he’d have to ‘settle’ for $96 million over four-years with any other team unless a sign-and-trade is completed.
Though an extra year of security worth $30 million is no doubt hard to pass up, Anthony seems intent on playing the remainder of his prime with a contender. Recent rumors have the Chicago Bulls and Houston Rockets at the top of ‘Melo’s wish list, and Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau is reportedly leading his team’s pursuit of the high-scoring superstar.
Both Chicago and Houston have work to do before gaining the requisite cap space to sign Anthony outright, however. The Bulls would likely have to shed the salaries of Carloz Boozer, Taj Gibson, and another player to make room for Anthony. Though Chicago could make things easier by using the amnesty provision on Boozer, it would certainly prefer to keep Gibson in tow. Things aren’t much simpler for the Rockets. Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin are valuable players, but come with poison-pill contracts that make their cap numbers extremely difficult to move in trades. Houston has a decision to make with restricted free agent Chandler Parsons, too.
It bears mentioning, though, that ESPN’s report says Anthony could be willing to take a pay-cut so the team of his choice could sign other free agents or retain its own players. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh set that precedent in 2010, but any discount that Anthony would take likely wouldn’t preclude Chicago or Houston from having to make substantial moves to add him.
Free agency starts July 1st. It’s almost here, people! Anthony’s decision to opt-out is just the first of many dominos to fall.
Where should Carmelo take his talents?
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