The statement is as follows:
"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."
Carmelo Anthony has reportedly notified the Knicks (in writing) of the decision to opt out of his current contract, but the team has known for approximately three weeks. (Berman, June 22).
Such a notification simply confirms what had already been widely speculated, dating all the way back to the beginning of this past season.
Even as the Knicks aimed to build on the success of an Atlantic Division title, Anthony initial intentions were clear from day one. There's nothing wrong with wanting to take a step back and explore all options. Of course, that wouldn't necessarily mean Anthony wants to leave the Big Apple, either.
But perhaps the most recent turbulent campaign with the Knicks put a wrench in the decision being such an easy one. With teams like the Rockets and Bulls (arguably both title contenders as currently constructed, let alone with Anthony included) expected to vie for the star's services this summer, it'll not assumedly be more difficult for New York to convince the Brooklyn native to return.
Having known about his intensions for close to a month, Phil Jackson, Derek Fisher, and co. had clear understanding of where Anthony stood, when they met him for dinner in Los Angeles less than two weeks ago.
Jackson's most recent demeanor in the press, as it relates to Anthony's choice, could assumedly be attributed to such awareness. If the forward wants to explore, he'll explore. If he wants to leave, he'll leave. Even if the Knicks are panicking about this behind closed doors, it's not smart to show one's hand and allow Anthony to use that to his advantage going into the process.
Here's to hoping Jackson has a steady plan of action moving forward, with worthwhile options including some that count on Anthony returning, and a few others that are prepared to watch him walk.