Apr 6, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) walks back to the bench during the second half against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena. Miami won 102-91. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

NBA Rumors: Chicago Bulls and Houston Rockets frontrunners to sign Carmelo Anthony

With Carmelo Anthony setting his sights on the first NBA Championship of his career, his pursuit of greatness may lead him out of “The Big Apple” and right into the hands of either the Chicago Bulls or Houston Rockets, according to Yahoo! Sports.

Both the Bulls and Rockets are now considered the frontrunners to acquire the services of the seven-time NBA All-Star.

A meeting with Knicks officials on Friday did little to sway Anthony, who believes president Phil Jackson won’t be able to turn the Knicks into a championship contender soon enough.

Sources tell Yahoo! Sports that “Chicago and Houston front-office executives are working diligently on contingencies to clear the space to sign Anthony outright – or engage sign-and-trade scenarios with New York.”

The Bulls would need to amnesty the contract of Carlos Boozer, deal sixth man Taj Gibson and perhaps one more player to clear enough space to sign Anthony.

For the Rockets, both Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin, two players with expiring contracts, would need to be sent packing. Their contracts could entice New York in a sign-and-trade if need be.

Chicago does have the luxury of being in the weaker Eastern Conference, though. It would make Anthony’s path to an NBA Championship a lot easier.

Anthony averaged 27.4 points, 8.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists for the Knicks this past season. His team finished with a record of 37-45, missing out on the postseason by just one game.

He will opt out of the final year of his contract (worth $23 million) and become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Tags: Carmelo Anthony Chicago Bulls Houston Rockets NBA New York Knicks