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Anthony opted out of his contract with the Knicks recently to become an unrestricted free agent and can begin talking to teams July 1. A source said there is currently no frontrunner for Anthony's services. He is expected to meet with the Knicks, Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks. There was no mention of the Miami Heat. Anthony hopes to visit the aforementioned teams in their respective cities during the opening days of free agency. At the moment, no other teams are expected to get a meeting.
The source said Anthony loves New York and playing for the Knicks, but there are still questions surrounding the franchise. The main variables: the direction of first-year president Phil Jackson and first-year coach Derek Fisher, and how long it will take the Knicks to become a winner again. Anthony yearns to be in a winning situation now and knows he would have to be patient if he stays with the Knicks, the source said.
The Knicks can offer Anthony the longest contract and the most money at five years and $130 million compared to the four years and about $96 million Anthony would earn if he were to leave for another team. Jackson has said that he asked Anthony to potentially take a pay cut to remain with the Knicks. But the source also said Jackson only talked to Anthony about the concept of taking a pay cut and that Jackson said he would be willing to offer a maximum contract if that is what it took to re-sign Anthony. The source added that Anthony, 30, viewed opting in to the final year of his contract for $23.3 million next season without signing an extension as risky at his age.
Jackson was evasive when asked by reporters Thursday night if he would be willing to complete a sign-and-trade with Anthony if he opts to go elsewhere. The source added that the Knicks and Anthony have had no discussions about the possibility of a sign-and-trade.
Anthony could visit the Rockets and the Mavericks on the same day, the source said. Anthony has an offseason home in Los Angeles, which could make it easy to visit the Lakers. The source emphasized that the plan is to get the visits completed quickly at the start of free agency.