Carmelo Anthony’s future in New York might be decided sooner than later.
The forward has a decision to make by Monday: opt-in for the final year of his contract with the Knicks or opt-out and become an unrestricted free agent.
If Anthony chooses the latter option and enters the July free agency period, don’t expect him back in a Knicks uniform next season, according to a source of the Wall Street Journal’s Chris Herring.
“If he makes the choice to opt out, I think he’s gone,” said one person familiar with the matter.
That’s because Anthony, for as much as he has talked about potentially taking a pay cut to help the Knicks build a winner around him, would actually be hindering the team by becoming a free agent. Despite the possibility that he could opt out and then re-sign for less money, there really is no immediate benefit in that for the Knicks, who are hopelessly over the league’s salary cap anyway until 2015.
As Herring mentions, even if Anthony opts-out and takes a massive pay cut, the Knicks still won’t have any financial flexibility to re-tool this team in 2014.
If Melo wants to stay in the Big Apple and have a shot a championship anytime soon, he’ll opt-in by Monday and wait until 2015, when the Knicks have room to make roster improvements, to sign a long-term extension.