Carmelo Anthony Opts Out, Will Hit Free Agency

MONDAY, 10:33am: Agent Leon Rose confirms that Anthony has opted out, as Frank Isola of the New York Daily News reports via Twitter.

“Carmelo loves being a Knick, he loves the City and the fans,” Rose said. “At this stage of his career he just wants to explore his options.”

SUNDAY, 1:01pm: Knicks star Carmelo Anthony will file paperwork tomorrow to notify the Knicks that he will be opting out of his contract, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.  Chris Herring of the Wall Street Journal (on Twitter) hears that Anthony actually submitted his formal early termination option letter on Friday stating his intentions to hit the open market.

It has long been expected that Anthony would exercise his ETO in order to explore free agency beginning on July 1st.  Tomorrow marks the official opt-out deadline for Anthony, one of the league’s very best scorers, and it appears he will forgo a guaranteed $23.5MM from the Knicks to see what else is out there.

The Knicks, of course, can offer Anthony more money than anyone with a five-year, $125MM+ contract.  However, Anthony is said to be intrigued by the opportunity to win right away with a team like the Bulls or Rockets.  Phil Jackson may have a plan to turn the Knicks into contenders over the next few years, but it seems highly unlikely that they can vault themselves into the title mix in 2014/15.

It was reported last week that the Bulls are the frontrunners for the former Syracuse star, though it’s not clear if that means Chicago is ahead of New York in the running or if they’re just the top option outside of the Knicks.  Anthony forced the Nuggets to trade him to the Knicks just three-and-a-half years ago and this summer there has been rampant speculation that Anthony is ready to take his talents to a third team.

Signing with the Bulls, Rockets, Mavs, or any other club would mean a maximum contract of $90MM over five seasons for Anthony.  However, it has been rumored that Anthony is open to sacrificing dollars, and maybe even taking less than the max, to help his club add more talent.  Both the Bulls and Rockets will have to do some shuffling before they can sign Melo to such a deal, however.

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