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Report: Agent confirms that Carmelo Anthony has opted out of Knicks contract

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In an announcement that was a mere formality more than anything, Carmelo Anthony’s agent reportedly confirmed on Monday that his client has decided to opt-out of the final year of his contract with the New York Knicks and test free agency and leave $23.3 million on the table, according to a Frank Isola report in the New York Daily News.

“Carmelo loves being a Knick, he loves the City and the fans,” Anthony’s agent, Leon Rose, said in a statement. “At this stage of his career he just wants to explore his options.”

Rose also indicated that he sent a letter to the Knicks regarding Anthony’s decision on Friday, well-ahead of Monday’s deadline.

While the Knicks still are assumed to be the favorites of signing Carmelo — the team can offer the forward $30 million more than any other team — the 30-year-old scorer is not without his fair share of suitors, including the Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers. Even the Miami Heat have surfaced as a possible landing spot, although much would have to occur before the Heat should be considered a legitimate contender in the Carmelo Sweepstakes.

With that said, Anthony cannot begin to negotiate with teams until July 1. Although not much likely would have happened on the contract front until teams believed to be interested in Carmelo learned the future of LeBron James, which won’t be known until the end of this week. Essentially, LeBron’s “decision” will occur first and then everything else — including where Anthony lands — will shake out at that point.

Ultimately, the seemingly inevitable endgame to the “Will He or Won’t He?” saga involving Anthony and the Knicks — something Carmelo brought upon himself last year when he more or less indicated he planned to opt-out even before the 2013-14 NBA season tipped off — has reached its most logical and foregone conclusion. Where it goes from here is anybody’s guess, although Knicks team president Phil Jackson likely will do everything in his power to make sure Anthony is in a Knicks uniform come next season.

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