Much is being made of the potential free agent class of 2014, since players like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Carmelo Anthony could become available next summer. While all of those players have options in their contracts that would allow them to become free agents, it’s also possible that they’ll continue on under their current deals. However, it sounds as if Carmelo, at least, is looking forward to the opportunity to test the market.
“I want to be a free agent,” Anthony told Rafi Kohan of the New York Observer. “I think everybody in the NBA dreams to be a free agent at least one time in their career. It’s like you have an evaluation period, you know. It’s like if I’m in the gym and I have all the coaches, all the owners, all the GMs come into the gym and just evaluate everything I do. So yes, I want that experience.”
The Knicks superstar didn’t specify exactly when he’s planning to become a free agent, so it’s entirely possible that he decides to exercise his option for 2014/15 and play out his current contract. It’s also possible that Carmelo opts out next summer and immediately re-signs with the Knicks, the team that could guarantee him more years and dollars than any other potential suitor.
As I noted back in August, Carmelo will become eligible to sign a contract extension in February 2014, and so far in his career, he has chosen that route — when he was dealt to the Knicks in 2011, he immediately inked an extension, meaning he has yet to go through free agency. Based on Anthony’s comments though, is appears the 29-year-old has no plans to sign an in-season extension this time around.
Barring a very disappointing 2013/14 season for the Knicks, I’d expect New York to continue to be the frontrunner for Carmelo’s long-term services. Still, since the former third overall pick sounds as if he intends to hit the open market sooner or later, rumors are bound to continue swirling around him and the team. As he tells Kohan, Anthony hopes that Knicks fans don’t overreact to those inevitable rumors.
“I came to New York for a reason,” Anthony said. “I’ve been with you all my life, almost to a fault. I wanted to come here and take on the pressures of playing in New York. So one thing I would tell my fans: If you haven’t heard it from me, then it ain’t true.”