Carmelo Anthony opted out of his contract with the Knicks for the 2014-2015 season today, and in doing so instantly becomes the most sought after free agent on the market. The Knicks can still pay Melo more than any other team in the league if they re-sign him – five years, $129 million versus the four years, 96 million other teams can offer – but a New York reunion is far from a sure thing at this point.
Anthony publicly stated months ago that he’s tired of playing on losing teams and “doesn’t know if he can stand” another season like the Knicks had this year. The Heat, Bulls, Rockets, and Lakers are all rumored to be heavily interested in his services.
As NBA Insider Ken Berger reported today, the Bulls are ready to make big moves in order to get a reportedly 100% healthy Derrick Rose help in Chicago. The Bulls are confident that, with Rose’s health, their team is just one scorer away from being a bonafide contender in the East. Rose is reportedly playing 5-on-5 every day in Chicago and “looks like the old Derrick Rose.” In Anthony, the Bulls would get a sorely needed scoring boost while having a defensive-minded team that can cover Anthony’s weaknesses as a defender.
The Rockets, meanwhile, are prepared to make an “all-out” push for LeBron James should he become available. (Side note: I’m not sure LeBron wants anything to do with a Western Conference team). But, if LeBron stays in Miami or chooses to go elsewhere, the Rockets will set their sights on Anthony.
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Is there any chance Anthony stays with the Knicks next season? I don’t think anyone – Anthony included – knows at this point. His agent said today that Carmelo enjoys playing in New York, but wants to see what the market has to offer.
“Carmelo loves being a Knick, he loves the City and the fans,” agent Leon Rose said. “At this stage of his career he just wants to explore his option.”
Carmelo also said recently that because he has children and a family, his decision will be about more than just basketball.
“The average person just sees opportunity to say that, 'Oh, Melo should go here, Melo should go there, I think he should do this, I think he should do that,' but they don't take into consideration the family aspect of it,” Anthony said. “Your livelihood, where you're going to be living at, do you want your kids to grow up in that place, in that city? Do I want to spend the rest of my career in that situation, in that city? So all of that stuff comes into play."