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Carmelo Anthony to opt out of Knicks deal, become free agent instead: reports

NEW YORK -- Carmelo Anthony will opt out of the final year of his contract with the New York Knicks and become an NBA free agent, according to multiple media reports Sunday.

Anthony has said that he planned to make the move and he has a deadline of Monday to notify the Knicks of his intentions.

The 30-year-old American, a seven-time NBA All-Star, had said he would not rule out a return to the Knicks but wanted to test the free agency market.

Knicks president Phil Jackson had hoped Anthony would consider playing out the last year of his contract, worth US$23.3 million, and testing free agency in 2015.

Anthony, according to unnamed sources in USA Today and ESPN reports, is interested in the Chicago Bulls. Houston, Miami and the Los Angeles Lakers are among those said to be interested in Anthony, as well as the Knicks.

New York has an edge under NBA payroll rules when it comes to money offers. The Knicks can offer Anthony as much as US$129 million over five years while his maximum deal for another club would be US$96 million over four years.

Anthony could accept less than the maximum to help whichever club he selects afford other talent in hopes of building a contender for something Anthony has never won -- an NBA title.

Clubs can start talking to free agents on July 1 and agree upon contract terms but no deals can be signed until July 10.

The Knicks missed the playoffs this past season, when Anthony averaged 27.4 points, a career-high 8.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists over 77 games.

With New York, Anthony has averaged 26.5 points, 7.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists a game. He has NBA career averages of 25.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.1 assists over 790 games with Denver and the Knicks.

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