NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Carmelo Anthony will opt out of the final year of his contract Monday, according to multiple published reports.
Anthony could have collected $23.3 if he had returned to the Knicks next season, but he decided to test free agency instead.
Last year, Anthony indicated he was leaning toward opting out of his deal. New Knicks president Phil Jackson and coach Derek Fisher tried to lobby him to stay, but Anthony apparently would not budge.
“I want to come back. But I also want to win,” Anthony said in April, the New York Daily News reported. “You know, me wanting to be here, if we can put ourselves in position to at least compete at a high level … then I’m willing to stay here and I’m willing to ride or die for New York.”
The Knicks missed the playoffs last season, finishing 37-45 — 11 games out of first place in the Eastern Conference’s Atlantic Division.
While the move is a blow to the otherwise talent-starved Knicks, it does not guarantee Anthony won’t be back. He can sign a maximum contract with the Knicks worth $129 million over five years, but can sign for only $96 million over four years elsewhere.
Anthony, 30, can begin to meet with teams July 1.
The Chicago Bulls are one of the teams that could potentially land the seven-time all-star. Citing league sources, ESPN reported Sunday that Anthony has talked to “at least one high-profile person who lives in Chicago” about living in the Windy City. Miami and Houston have also been mentioned in reports as possible landing spots.
Last season, Anthony average 27.4 points per game, second most in the NBA.
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