It’s down to five teams for the unrestricted free agent Carmelo Anthony and he’s set to make a decision by the second week of July.
Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports is reporting that while there is “currently no frontrunner for Anthony’s services” but is expected to meet with current team New York Knicks and suitors Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets in the next few days.
NBA free agents can start exploring signing with teams by July 1 when the NBA free agency officially opens. Anthony opted out on the final deal of his contract worth $23.3 million with the Big Apple franchise last week.
Part of Melo’s plans to evaluate his potential future squads with a visit to the city and a face-to-face meeting with the officials of the said teams. Curiously, previously mentioned destination, Miami was not mentioned as a team-of-interest for the star forward.
Among the five teams, the Knicks still have the inside track if amount and length of the contract is considered. New York can offer Anthony a maximum contract of $130M over five years while other teams can only offer $96M over four years.
However, among the teams in that short-list, New York is also the likely squad to give Melo a roster that can compete for the NBA championship.
New York unloaded veteran center Tyson Chandler to the Dallas Mavericks in an earlier deal in the offseason that opened a bit of cap space for New York. Still, the Knicks have over $59M committed for the 2014-2015 season already near the projected salary cap of $63M. N.Y. will shoot over the mark after signing Melo to a long-term contract.
Of the remaining four teams, only Dallas and Los Angeles have actual cap space to sign Anthony outright. Houston and Chicago have the potential to cut salary—the Rockets already did by unloading Omer Asik to the New Orleans Pelicans while the Bulls can amnesty Carlos Boozer—or do a sign-and-trade with the Knicks