New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony intends to opt out of his contract and become a free agent next month, despite team president Phil Jackson’s efforts to keep him, according to ESPN.com.
Jackson is trying to convince Anthony to exercise his $23.3 million player option and delay unrestricted free agency until after next season.
Anthony reportedly has until June 23 to inform the Knicks if he plans to opt in or out of his contract.
Jackson has said that he hopes Anthony considers staying with the team another season but Anthony has publicly stated he plans to test free agency.
“I told him it might be a good idea to hang in here and see what it’s like for a year and go out the next year,” Jackson said. “But that’s his option, that’s what he’s earned, and that’s what’s part of his contractual agreement. He has the right to do that. But I just offered that as, ‘Look, this gives you an opportunity to see how this is going to change, see how we’re going to get going, your relationship to the team and the coach and the system or whatever, the system we impose.”
Jackson said Anthony was open-minded about the idea of opting in when the two met for dinner in late April. Jackson has reportedly persisted for the past month in trying to convince Anthony to stay.
According to multiple reports, Jackson was planning to meet together with Anthony, general manager Steve Mills and new coach Derek Fisher on Thursday. As of Thursday night, Anthony remained committed to opting out of his contract.
The Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets are among the team’s interested in Anthony, according to ESPN.com. The Miami Heat are reportedly looking for ways to create salary cap space to lure Anthony.
The Knicks can offer Anthony a free agent deal for up to five years and nearly $130 million. The most other teams can offer Anthony is four years and nearly $96 million.
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