The New York Knicks have imposed a deadline of June 23 for Carmelo Anthony to decide if he is going to opt-in of the last year of his contract with the team. Should the star forward decide otherwise, Melo is reportedly considering the Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks or Houston Rockets as potential free agent destinations when his contract expires.
According to Marc Stein of ESPN, Knicks president Phil Jackson is encouraging Anthony to stay with New York for one more year and become an unrestricted free agent after the 2014-2015 NBA season. Melo is set to be paid $23,530,000 if he remains with the team but he can forgo that final season and choose to explore free agency where he is expected to get a long-term contract with other teams.
"We're planning on meeting with Carmelo (again) in the near future. I want to express to him again I want to have him back on the team. We haven't heard one way or another about opt-in or opt-out. If he decides on free agency, he has a right to do that,” said Jackson in a press conference on Tuesday.
While there is no decision yet on his free agency, the 30-year-old star is reportedly considering the Dallas Mavericks, Chicago Bulls and Houston Rockets as potential FA destinations.
Among the three teams, Dallas appears to have the inside track if the salary situation is considered. The Mavericks have only $26.6M in salary committed to players for the 2014-15 season, when an estimated $63.2M salary cap is expected to be imposed.
Dirk Nowitzki, Shawn Marion, Vince Carter are among the recognizable names in the Dallas roster with expiring contracts this season. Nowitzki is reportedly willing to take a pay-cut for Dallas while Marion and Carter are not expected to demand big salary when they become free agents.
Both the Bulls and Rockets have to shed off salary if they want to be serious players for Melo’s services.
"As far as Carmelo is concerned, we obviously believe Carmelo is one of the top players in the NBA and world. We want him to be here, but ultimately he has the choice. We'll do everything we can possibly do to give him confidence that we can get the job done and put a team together he can feel is a championship team,” added Derek Fisher, who was officially named the Knicks head coach earlier this week.
The actual deadline for the option to be picked up or not is June 30 and he becomes a free agent the day after, July 1.