The Knicks are telling Carmelo Anthony that they will pursue LeBron James in the summer of 2015 as they continue to attempt to persuade Anthony to opt in for next season, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Still, Anthony, who told Knicks president Phil Jackson that he’d think about opting in when Jackson first asked him to do so, is considering the Bulls, Rockets and Mavs as potential free agent destinations, Stein adds.
Jackson and company also expect to be contenders for Kevin Durant in 2016, believing that they’ve helped themselves in that regard with the hiring of Derek Fisher, until recently a teammate of Durant’s, as coach. A source told Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com that Fisher’s presence would “definitely be a factor” when Durant ponders his free agency.
James, like Anthony, can hit free agency this summer, but it appears increasingly likely that he’ll remain with the Heat for at least one more season. Anthony has long said that he’ll opt out of his deal and become a free agent this summer, but New York’s attempts to dissuade him from doing so seem to have him at least considering the idea of opting in for the final season of his contract, worth more than $23.333MM. Anthony must decide on his option by June 23rd, which complicates the matter, since James, along with Heat teammates Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade, have until June 30th to decide on their options. The Knicks will likely be over next season’s salary cap regardless of what Anthony decides to do, but almost every player on New York’s roster can come off the books next summer.
The Mavs have been linked to ‘Melo before, but the last report about his interest in other teams seemed to cast the Bulls as the front-runner. The Rockets, Lakers and Clippers drew mention, but Dallas did not. The Mavs apparently aren’t interested in Anthony at the maximum salary, but they’re not alone in that regard. Anthony has raised the idea of signing for less than the max, but that was in reference to a new deal with the Knicks.