Carmelo Anthony will notify the Knicks on Monday that he will opt out of the final year of his contract, worth about $23.5 million, and test free agency, Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reported Sunday.
According to Wojnarowski's sources, Anthony is "determined to explore free agency" and will look closely at the Bulls and Rockets.
The Knicks can still offer the seven-time All-Star forward the biggest contract — five years, more than $125 million — but he is reportedly "intrigued with the chance to join an immediate contender."
Chicago and Houston would have to make moves to clear cap space in order to sign Anthony to a four-year deal worth about $90 million.
The Chicago Sun-Times earlier reported that Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau had reached out to some of Anthony's former coaches about him, as a possible indication of the mutual interest between the two.
In addition to the Bulls and Rockets though, Anthony would reportedly also consider the Mavericks. The Heat, according to ESPN.com, have also explored their options to possibly pursue Anthony.
The Knicks brought on Phil Jackson late last season as their new president with the hope that he would be able to lure Anthony into staying and attract others to New York. Jackson has tried to hire Steve Kerr, whom he coached alongside Michael Jordan in Chicago, as the new coach of the Knicks, but Kerr opted for the Warriors instead.
Jackson then turned to Derek Fisher, the former players' union president and Thunder guard, take over as as a first-year coach.
Anthony, 30, was traded to New York in February of 2011 as part of a 13-player deal that involved the Timberwolves. To acquire Anthony, the Knicks essentially gutted their roster to make room for him. New York shipped Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton and Timofey Mozgov to Denver, while sending Anthony Randolph and Eddy Curry to Minnesota.
Anthony helped the Knicks to the playoffs three times since joining them in late 2011, but they failed to make it past the second round. New York finished with a 37-45 record last season, missing the postseason for the first time since 2010.
Nicki Jhabvala: firstname.lastname@example.org and @nickijhabvala