Carmelo Anthony's agent declares that the sweet shooting hybrid forward "love being a Knick" but chose to become a free agent because he wants to explore all options.
ESPN.com reports that Leon Rose, Anthony's agent, reacted to speculations that the All-Star forward is set to depart the troubled New York Knicks franchise to explore a more established organization with a conteding roster such as the Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat and the Houston Rockets. Anthony had until Monday to terminate the final year of his contract and head to free agency by July 1st.
''Carmelo loves being a Knick, he loves the city and the fans,'' Leon Rose said. ''At this stage of his career he just wants to explore his options.''
In terms of finances, the best option is still with the Knicks which can offer him the full five year contract, one more than other teams and approximately $25 million more under the NBA rules. But this late in career, Anthony has declared that his priority is to contend for a championship. The Knicks cannot offer much hope on that front after going an abysmal 37-45 and ineligibility from playoff contention just one year removed from being in the conference finals and having the third best record in the conference.
Several other teams have expressed their intention to lure Anthony. Aside from the Bulls, Rockets and Heat, other teams attached to the Carmelo Anthony conversations are the Dallas mavericks, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Atlanta Hawks. Most of the teams mentioned are playoff teams or teams with established stars that Anthony can unload some of the burden to. This did not happen in a dysfunctional season in New York which was marred by disappointing seasons from J.R. Smith, Andrea Bargnani and Amare Chandler.
Anthony's numbers last season did not disappoint posting 27.4 points and 8.1 rebounds but much of those did not translate well as the team struggled with defense, chemistry and coaching issues. With new Knicks President Phil Jackson at the helm and new coach Derek Fisher, much spotlight have been focused on a retool rather than a rebuild but that option still hinges on Anthony.
''I'm not losing sleep over it, but I'm definitely concerned about the idea of a guy going into free agency. It only takes one bidder out there that has the ability and can ruin your hopes and your chances,'' Jackson said recently.