All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony will exercise the opt-out clause in his New York Knicks contract and become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, a league source confirmed Sunday.
Multiple outlets also reported the expected development.
Knicks President Phil Jackson had publicly revealed he asked Anthony to consider opting in for the final year of his deal to give the organization a one-year trial under new management that includes coach Derek Fisher before expected big changes next offseason.
Instead, Anthony will test the market, which will include a pitch from the Bulls, sources said.
Anthony also is expected to draw interest from the Houston Rockets if they are able to trade the contracts of Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin, as well as the Dallas Mavericks.
Opting out doesn’t prohibit Anthony from re-signing with the Knicks, although doing so would cut into their salary-cap windfall next summer. That’s when the large contracts of Amare Stoudemire, Andrea Bargnani and Tyson Chandler expire.
The Bulls’ ideal scenario would be to acquire Anthony via a sign-and-trade deal. But sources have indicated the Knicks won’t be interested in Carlos Boozer’s expiring contract.
The Bulls would only have roughly $11 million of salary-cap space if they use the amnesty provision on Boozer. That means they would have to offload contracts without taking anything back in return to make a competitive offer for Anthony, who could sign a five-year, $129 million deal with the Knicks.
Jackson also has said publicly he’d prefer not trying to re-sign Anthony for the maximum contract.