NBA Notes: Knicks' Anthony opts for free agency

NBA Notes: Knicks' Anthony opts for free agency
June 23, 2014, 2:45 pm

New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony opted out of his contract and will test the free agent market. (AP)

NEW YORK, N.Y. -- Carmelo Anthony "loves being a Knick" but is headed for free agency because he wants to explore his options, his agent said.

Anthony had a Monday deadline to terminate the final year of his contract and had already informed the team he would do so. He will be able to negotiate with teams starting July 1.

"Carmelo loves being a Knick, he loves the city and the fans," Leon Rose said. "At this stage of his career he just wants to explore his options."

The best one financially would be to return to New York, which can offer him an extra year and around $25 million more than any team under NBA rules.

But Anthony has said his priority at this stage of his career is to contend for championships, and the Knicks are coming off a 37-45 season and have little ability to upgrade the roster this summer because of salary cap rules.

Teams such as Chicago, Houston, Dallas and Miami have all been mentioned as teams that could be interested in the All-Star forward, and all are playoff teams with established stars already on the roster.

Anthony would have earned $23.3 million next season had he chose to play out the final year of his deal. Knicks president Phil Jackson had told Anthony it may be a good idea to consider that, but Anthony had repeatedly said his preference was to become a free agent this summer, and he reiterated that to Jackson, general manager Steve Mills and new coach Derek Fisher during a recent meeting in Los Angeles (see full story).

Spurs: Duncan will return for 18th season
A person with knowledge of the decision tells The Associated Press that Tim Duncan is exercising the option on his contract for 2014-15 and will return to play for the San Antonio Spurs next season.

Duncan turned 38 in April and won his fifth championship with the Spurs in June. That led to some speculation that he could retire after 17 seasons in the league.

But many also expected Duncan to return next season because he continues to play at a high level. Duncan will make $10.3 million next season as part of a contract designed to allow the Spurs to surround him with top-flight talent. The person requested anonymity because an official announcement has not been made.

Yahoo! Sports first reported the decision.

Knicks: Felton expected to plead guilty
NEW YORK, N.Y. -- Prosecutors say New York Knicks point guard Raymond Felton is expected to plead guilty in a felony gun possession case in exchange for being sentenced to community service and a $5,000 fine.

Felton was in a Manhattan court Monday, when prosecutors outlined the agreement. The plea date is to be set at a June 30 court session.

His lawyer credits the district attorney's office with "focusing on the facts, and only the facts."

Felton was arrested in February. He turned himself in shortly after a game.

Authorities say his estranged wife's lawyer had brought a loaded semi-automatic handgun to a police precinct, saying it was Felton's and she wanted it out of their house. She had filed for divorce the week before.

The NBA has said it's monitoring the case.

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