Adrian Wojnarowski reporting that the Carmelo Anthony is leaning towards bolting the Knicks via free agency, with the Chicago Bulls and Houston Rockets as frontrunners to land his services.
As re-signing with the Knicks continues to fade as his priority, Chicago and Houston have emerged as the clear frontrunners to acquire Anthony, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Anthony’s meeting with Knicks officials on Friday night had little impact on his state of mind, league sources said, because there remain too many uncertainties about how quickly president Phil Jackson can reshape the team into a championship contender.
Chicago and Houston front-office executives are working diligently on contingencies to clear the space to sign Anthony outright – or engage sign-and-trade scenarios with New York, sources said.
“His heart is in New York,” one source familiar with Anthony’s thinking told Yahoo Sports, “but he wants a chance to win now.”
According to the Yahoo Sports report, Phil Jackson has turned Melo off with his public pleas for Carmelo to take less money in order to build the proper franchise around him. Some in the Anthony camp believe Jackson is just posturing for the public in regards to his want Carmelo to return to the Knicks.
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Around Anthony and the NBA, there’s some doubt about whether Jackson truly wants to keep him on a five-year, $120 million-plus extension, or simply is giving the appearance for public relations’ sake. Jackson has been somewhat cavalier in his public declarations of wanting Anthony to stay, and it’s been noticed.