Carmelo Anthony will opt out of his contract, according to multiple sources (ESPN , June 22).
Anthony will become an unrestricted free agent.
Several team are expected to show interest, including the Chicago Bulls, as SNY’s Adam Zagoria reported late last week (TKB, June 20).
Knicks president Phil Jackson had hoped that Anthony would opt-in for the final year of his contract.
From Anthony’s point of view, this is the right move, and a smart one at that. He’s keeping his options open, which at this moment, obviously still include returning to the Knicks.
The forward is in the driver’s seat here, and rightfully so. By opting out, he’s putting some healthy pressure on the Knicks to show improvement, and/or at the very least, a confident plan of action moving forward.
Anthony has plenty of appealing options when it comes to leaving the Big Apple. Teams like the Bulls (if at full health with Derrick Rose) and Rockets both stand to be perennial NBA title contenders without the Knicks’ star, let alone with him. Can or do the Knicks match up accordingly? That is the question.
As he weighs his options, Anthony would have to take Phil Jackson’s word (with the team having little roster flexibility to make major improvements until next summer) and pit it against teams with already proven talent in town. Despite having quite a reputation as a Hall of Fame coach, Jackson is unproven as an executive. Will his vision for the future stand up tall enough to compete with teams already poised to compete for a championship, in the eyes of Anthony?
That’s something the star will need to think about, if and when he considers returning to the Knicks. Though an advantage to remaining with the Knicks happens to be more money with an extra potential year on his next contract, Anthony can still use his forthcoming freedom to his advantage in order to get what he wants.
While Jackson hasn’t been one to panic over the suggestion that Anthony may opt to sign elsewhere, the fact of the matter is New York won’t want to lose him without anything to show for it. If Anthony ultimately decides to sign with Chicago or another related team, the Knicks would be smart to play ball in hopes of making a deal and acquiring other talents and/or future assets in return.
This would allow the Knicks to begin building for the future rather quickly, while a sign & trade deal would also provide Anthony the opportunity to sign a longer and more lucrative contract with another team as well.