New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony has opted out of the final season of his contract, and he will officially hit free agency on July 1. There has been speculation about his future all year, and what he decides to do is obviously one of the biggest storylines of the offseason.
"Carmelo loves being a Knick, he loves the City and the fans," his agent, Leon Rose, said in a statement, via Newsday. "At this stage of his career he just wants to explore his options."
The Houston Rockets, Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers have all been linked to Anthony. He himself didn't say much about his decision throughout the season, but recently sat down with Vice Sports to do so:
Anthony talked about being a Knicks fan growing up. He talked about leaving Denver to go to a big market and increase his profile. He talked about the energy and the fans at Madison Square Garden, and the scrutiny you're under in New York.
He also said he wanted to be involved in roster-buiding:
"As far as player personnel goes, I would love to be involved in that. 'Cause at the end of the day you're creating a family. You can't create a bond with somebody who's not going to fit in with you or not going to be there when you need him the most and don't understand the game and how to win and situations in the game and things like that. As much as it has to do with having the top guys on your team, superstars per se, you need the rest of your soldiers. You need the guys that are going to go out their and put their life on the line for you because it's a war, it's a battle."
Anthony added that there's more to free agency than making a quick basketball decision. He said it's about the big picture, basketball-wise and with his family:
"The average person just sees opportunity to say that, 'Oh, Melo should go here, Melo should go there, I think he should do this, I think he should do that,' but they don't take into consideration the family aspect of it. Your livelihood, where you're going to be living at, do you want your kids to grow up in that place, in that city? Do I want to spend the rest of my career in that situation, in that city? So all of that stuff comes into play."
It's a tricky situation for Anthony, who has repeatedly said that winning would be a big factor. The Knicks are likely at least a couple of years from being relevant again, but he is comfortable in New York. His "preference" is to stay there, according to Newsday, but he is "leaning toward" leaving, according to Yahoo Sports. It's hard to know what to make of any of it, as he probably hasn't even made up his mind.