“They pulled all the strings to get me here, and I wanted to be here, you know. And I want to retire in New York, let’s be quite frank. I think a lot of people jumped the gun when I said I wanted to be a free agent. And yeah, I want people to come to play in New York. I want them to want to play in New York. I want New York to be that place where guys want to come play in New York.”
— Carmelo Anthony, in an interview Thursday with TNT.
Carmelo Anthony has an opt-out clause which gives him the option to terminate his contract after this season. On Wednesday, Melo indicated that he has every intention of using it.
“I want to be a free agent. I think everybody in the NBA dreams to be a free agent at least one time in their career. It’s like you have an evaluation period, you know. It’s like if I’m in the gym and I have all the coaches, all the owners, all the GMs come into the gym and just evaluate everything I do. So yes, I want that experience.” — Carmelo Anthony
So should Knicks fans panic? No. It makes sense for Carmelo to opt out. Even if he plans on staying, he would make more money by opting out and signing a new deal than he would be simply playing under his old contract. In fact, depending on what happens with Kobe Bryant’s contract next summer, Carmelo could become the highest paid player in the NBA.
Melo might leave. He probably won’t. He has indicated that he would like to stay and the team has indicated that they will make it their number one priority to keep him. But Carmelo has every right to explore his options, and that is exactly what he is doing.