There have been recent comments from New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony about wanting to test free agency in order to experience the courtship and evaluation from teams around the league. It's nothing new for NBA superstars to want to go through. LeBron James did it back in 2010 and Dwight Howard did it this past summer. For these guys who sign extension after extension, it's kind of rare that they become actual free agents.
Wanting to test free agency and see what it's like though doesn't necessarily mean that Anthony wants to leave New York. Ian Begley of ESPN New York says that Anthony's desire to be a free agent doesn't mean he plans on leaving the Knicks at all. But the Knicks star confirmed that he will opt out of the final year of his contract, slated to pay him $23 million, and become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2014.
Carmelo Anthony says he plans to test free agency. But that doesn't necessarily mean he plans to leave the Knicks.
"It's definitely an opportunity that I'm willing to explore and experience," Anthony said Thursday morning. "That not whatsoever means that I'm not coming back to New York or I don't want to be here in New York. So I don't want nobody to get that impression."
Anthony reiterated Thursday that he will opt out of the final year of his contract with the Knicks and test free agency this summer.
If LeBron James also opts out of his deal in the summer of 2014, it will be the first time since 2010 that multiple huge stars in the NBA are free agents at the same time. Back when that happened, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade ended up synchronizing their watches and playing together in Miami. While it's unlikely any team would have the capabilities of adding both James and Anthony to the same roster, there could be a significant shifting of power if one of the players decides to go to the Los Angeles Lakers or if LeBron chooses to go back to Cleveland to play for the Cavaliers.
Regardless, the Knicks have the ability to throw a lot of money toward Anthony and keep him happy. With their ability to offer up roughly $30 million more than any other team, the lucrative opportunity to stay in New York could be hard for Melo to pass up. Until we see that summer though and how things unfold, we'll be left guessing whether or not we'll see a repeat of what happened with Howard when Anthony hits the open market.