It sounds like Carmelo Anthony plans to split the Big Apple.
FOX Sports 1/Yahoo NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the New York Knicks All-Star forward plans to inform the team Monday that he intends to end his contract early and become a free agent at the beginning of next month.
League sources say the 30-year-old Anthony is interested in the Chicago Bulls and the Houston Rockets.
Anthony will be eligible to begin negotiating with teams July 1.
All signs say , the Knicks can offer Anthony the best deal — a five-year contract worth more than $125 million, while Chicago and Houston could offer him only four years and $90 (and would have to clear cap space to do so). But sources indicate Anthony wants to play with a team that could be in an immediate position to contend for a title; both Chicago and Houston made the playoffs last season and have what most would consider better pieces in place for a deep playoff run should Anthony join.
For Anthony, Monday is the deadline for opting out of his current deal, $23.5 million for the upcoming season.
The move would complicate matters for new Knicks president Phil Jackson, who has said he hoped his star player would decide to stay in New York for this season. The team won’t be in a position to free up salary cap space until the 2015 season.
The Knicks underwhelmed this past season, finishing a disappointing 37-45 and missing the playoffs. It was the first time in Anthony’s 11-year career he missed the postseason.
As recently as a few days ago, Anthony indicated to reporters that he had “a great meeting” with Jackson.
“I like what Phil is doing,” he said then.
Earlier this month, there also were reports that the Miami Heat had an eye on landing Anthony, in a move that potentially could have created a “Big Four” in South Beach.
LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh would have to agree to new deals worth less money for that to happen. All three of them are also eligible to opt out of their deals should they choose, though none of them have yet to make any official announcement.