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Report: Carmelo Anthony has until June 23 to notify Knicks if he plans to opt out, become a free agent

Jun 11, 2014, 5:24 PM EDT

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It’s been widely expected that Carmelo Anthony will exercise the early termination option on the final year of his contract, leaving $23 million on the table in order to sign a new max deal as an unrestricted free agent.

But ever since the Knicks hired Phil Jackson as president of basketball operations, that seems slightly less certain than it once was.

Jackson’s ideal plan for rebuilding in New York is centered around Carmelo Anthony opting in for next season, and waiting until the following one to sign that five-year max contract, which could give the Knicks some additional flexibility to pursue big names in the more loaded free agent class of 2015.

While that remains a long shot, Anthony must notify the team of his decision about a week before the free agency period begins.

From Marc Stein of

Carmelo Anthony has until June 23, essentially one week before the start of free agency, to notify the New York Knicks if he plans to opt in or out of the final year of his current contract, according to sources familiar with the terms of his deal.

Sources told that Knicks president Phil Jackson is continuing to urge Anthony to exercise next season’s $23.3 million player option and put off unrestricted free agency for one more year. …

Jackson’s pitch to Anthony — which sources say he has delivered more than once over the past month — is founded upon the notion that the Knicks will have increased financial flexibility in the summer of 2015 to bring in a marquee free agent to pair with a re-signed Anthony.

It’s likely that there’s far too much risk associated with not signing a max contract the moment that opportunity presents itself, and Anthony will be hard-pressed to wait a year to do so, even while collecting more than $23 million in salary for next season if that’s the choice that is made.

But what Jackson is ultimately advocating for here is something he mentioned soon after accepting his new position.

The Knicks ultimately want Anthony to sign his five-year deal for less money than the maximum, in order to give the team more salary cap dollars to expedite the rebuild of the franchise. It’s possible that Anthony could do that now with an eye toward 2015, but honestly, there isn’t any motivation for him to do so.

If Jackson can present one or two All-Star free agents that are ready to join the Knicks in 2015, however, it makes it more appealing for Anthony to agree to take less money at that point, when there is a concrete and legitimate reason.

Anthony would reportedly look closely at the Bulls, Rockets and Mavericks if he opts out and becomes a free agent this summer, and any of those decisions would mean foregoing more than $30 million that he could keep by re-signing a max deal with the Knicks.

Taking less money to play for a winner is an option Anthony will have whether he chooses to stay in New York or play somewhere else. But whatever he decides, the deadline is less than two weeks away.

  1. sumkat - Jun 11, 2014 at 5:53 PM

    Good news for both teams that want to make a run at him, and teams that want to set up deals with those teams so they have the cap room for it. With the 23rd date (no idea if that is standard), all those teams know for sure if he is going to be available.

    With such a slow trade deadline, and so many teams wanting to make a major move, should be a fun draft as far as trades go

    • joshm5683 - Jun 11, 2014 at 6:18 PM

      Its universal, July 1st is the 1st official day of free agency. Its not just him that will notify their teams, although he is 1 of the big names that might actually leave his current situation.

  2. mogogo1 - Jun 11, 2014 at 6:11 PM

    Given how freely they’ve been spending money on Phil Jackson and now on Fisher as the coach it’s going to be a really tough sell to ask Anthony to accept less than max money. Granted, it’s kind of apples to oranges since there is no salary cap on management/coaches but Melo isn’t going to see it that way.

  3. spursareold - Jun 11, 2014 at 6:18 PM

    Lesson plan for the NYK: players who leave their teams for yours are usually not transcendent stars, but you’ll pay them like they are. See: Stoudemire, Amare.

    There are no shortcuts if you want to build a contender.

    • 1historian - Jun 21, 2014 at 8:06 AM

      organizations win championships. Jackson was a terrific coach but he is a rookie GM and I don’t think he’ll be there much longer than 2 years.

  4. ocgunslinger - Jun 11, 2014 at 6:20 PM

    Highly doubt he will sign now but will opt out. He is tired of losing and wants to be courted. Knicks will be better off long term if he leaves.

    • sportsfan18 - Jun 11, 2014 at 7:00 PM

      Amen to that!

      The Knicks WILL be better if he leaves…

      Melo isn’t going to win a title in his career, so teams might want to think about that before signing him…

  5. JT - Jun 11, 2014 at 6:21 PM

    Melo gone..

  6. jolink653 - Jun 11, 2014 at 7:08 PM

    Put up or shut up time for Melo. If he really meant what he said and wants to win here and do what it takes, he’ll opt in and help the Knicks work towards next year. If it’s all about him, he opts out and gets his ego stroked by all the teams that will court him. Obviously I’d rather have him opt in, but if he leaves then it gives Phil an entirely clean slate with which to work with in 2015

  7. bigwii - Jun 11, 2014 at 8:10 PM

    Chicago or Boston, pick one

    • 1historian - Jun 21, 2014 at 8:07 AM

      not Boston – Ainge is too smart for that.

  8. campcouch - Jun 12, 2014 at 12:15 AM

    No sympathy for the Knicks concerning this,but some advice. Don’t lose any sleep over it. Stewing about it makes your life bad. I mean I watched the Knicks clear their slate in the hopes of landing James in ’10,the NY media hound him about being in NY since the day he was drafted and BAM,he bounced to Miami essentially crippling the Cavs,Knicks and Nets because of the decisions they all made. If he goes,he goes,it was a good 3 years. Start drafting and building a team instead of resting your hopes on a big time FA. That’s why the Lakers are where they are,depending on someone coming there. At least you guys have a few homegrown players that are pretty good. It’d be nice if he stayed so he isn’t just a mercenary,but if he wants to roll,get what you can for him..and don’t burn his jersey. My James jersey is considered a throwback now lol.

  9. antistratfordian - Jun 12, 2014 at 1:08 AM

    Deadline is 6/23? Is that code for, “I’m taking my talents to South Beach”?

  10. 1historian - Jun 21, 2014 at 8:08 AM

    update your material – you can do better than that

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