Carmelo Anthony has until June 23, according to sources on June 11, to decide whether to exercise his early termination clause with the New York Knicks. If Anthony does exercise his option, he will be owed $23.3 million by the Knicks and become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2015.
Both Knicks president Phil Jackson and newly named head coach Derek Fisher wants Anthony to stay with the club.
At a news conference on June 10, to introduce Fisher to the media, Jackson said:
“We’re planning on meeting with Carmelo (again) in the near future. I want to express to him again I want to have him back on the team. We haven’t heard one way or another about opt-in or opt-out. If he decides on free agency, he has a right to do that.”
Fisher added “As far as Carmelo is concerned, we obviously believe Carmelo is one of the top players in the NBA and world. We want him to be here, but ultimately he has the choice. We’ll do everything we can possibly do to give him confidence that we can get the job done and put a team together he can feel is a championship team.”
Jackson’s pitch Anthony — which sources say he has delivered more than once over the past month –that the club will have increased financial flexibility in the summer of 2015 to bring in a marquee free agent to pair with a re-signed Anthony.
Next summer, the Knicks – if they don’t sign anyone to a multi-year contract this offseason – will have just five players on their roster at cost around $13.7 million. Two of those players – J.R. Smith and Raymond Felton – have player’s options and Pablo Prigioni’s contract is not guaranteed. In addition, the Knicks will have the option of not making Iman Shumpert a qualifying offer and not exercising a team option on Tim Hardaway. Plus, the Knicks can dangle a five-year contract that’s worth in the ballpark of $130 million—tens of millions more than he would bring home anywhere else.
However, according to the New York Daily News ,Anthony plans on following through his year-long intent of becoming an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
If the Anthony does opt-out of his contract, the Dallas Mavericks, Miami Heat, Houston Rockets and Chicago Bulls have made it known that they would be interested.
Dallas: The Mavericks have plenty of salary cap space as they only $31.5 million in guaranteed salaries for 2014-15 season. The Mavs have several key free agents though most are expected to re-sign with the team: Dirk Nowitzki, Shawn Marion and Vince Carter. Samuel Dalembert’s ($3.8 million) salary is not guaranteed and the team has options on Bernard James and Jae Crowder.
Chicago: The Bulls don’t have as much wiggle room as the Mavericks but do offer a better opportunity to win. The Bulls are on the hook for $63.8 million this upcoming season but have Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson futures locked up. Carlos Boozer has one-year remaining on his contract.
Miami: The Heat have a little work to do to have enough salary cap room to be real players in the Anthony sweepstakes. The Heat would need Chris Bosh, LeBron James and Dwayne Wade all to exercise their early termination clauses and then take less money to re-sign with the team. Udonis Haslem ($4.6 million) and Chris Anderson ($1.4 million) hold player options.
Mario Chalmers Shane Battier – who will likely retire –, Ray Allen , James Jones and Rashard Lewis are unrestricted free agents this offseason.
Houston: The Rockets have about the same salary space as the Bulls do—currently the Rockets have $62.7 million tied up for next season –. The good news is that the Rockets have several young players that are earning not much money therefore could be an attractive in a trade package. Chandler Parsons, Francisco Garcia, Omri Cassipi and Jordan Hamilton are unrestricted free agents. The Rockets hold team options on Patrick Beverly, Troy Daniels and Josh Powell.