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Carmelo Anthony’s agent confirms he has opted out of deal with Knicks

Dallas Mavericks v New York Knicks

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 24: Carmelo Anthony #7 of the New York Knicks reacts during a game against the Dallas Mavericks at Madison Square Garden in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

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Again, if this is a surprise to you, welcome out of the cave from your long winter hibernation.

Carmelo Anthony has opted out of the final year of his contract with the New York Knicks, something his agent Leon Rose confirmed in a statement to Howard Beck of Bleacher Report.

“Carmelo loves being a Knick, he loves the City and the fans. At this stage of his career he just wants to explore his options.”

Those options include the chance to contend sooner rather than later.

The Knicks are cap strapped and rebuilding, it’s going to take a few years (at least). If contending for a ring now is Anthony’s priority over money than taking less to play in Chicago makes sense (or maybe Houston or Dallas, although why go to the deeper Western Conference?). Reports are the Heat may try to make a run at Anthony, too, but that would require a lot of salary cap gymnastics and a whole lot more money left on the table by some big stars. The Lakers could make a call, too, but interest there is lukewarm.

People around Carmelo said he was opting out and wanted the full “Dwight Howard treatment” of being recruited. He’s going to get that. Teams will chase him.

He just has to decide what matters most to him. Money? Being the star in New York? Contending immediately? Location? What does his family want? Anthony will get recruited but where he lands ultimately depends on what he wants most.

More and more that seems to be getting out of New York.