Carmelo Anthony has until June 23 to let the Knicks know whether he will opt out of the final year of his deal in New York. (Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Heat officials and the team's "leading players" have already begun exploring ways to sign Knicks franchise forward Carmelo Anthony, according to a report Wednesday night from Brian Windhorst and Marc Stein of ESPN.com.
The thinking behind the potential restructuring in Miami would be to have the Heat's "Big Three" of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh each opt out of their contract this summer in order to potentially take pay cuts in new deals that would then allow the franchise to go after Anthony with a lucrative offer to take his own talents to South Beach and form a "Big Four."
James, Wade and Bosh have player options for roughly $21 million over the next two seasons. Anthony has a player option for $23.5 million next season if he returns to New York. On May 30, a day after his 30th birthday, Anthony made headlines when it was reported he told Knicks president Phil Jackson he is reconsidering his previous statement that he would opt out this summer.
SI WIRE: Report: Nuggets SF Danilo Gallinari uncertain for start of next season
The hefty contracts of Knicks big men Amare Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler and Andrea Bargnani expire next year, freeing up approximately $50 million in cap space for the Knicks to possibly pursue the likes of Timberwolves forward Kevin Love or another marquee star. Love said Wednesday on ESPN's SportsNation that the "Knicks are definitely a place where anybody would like to go."
If Anthony remains with the Knicks, he would be positioned to sign a five-year contract with New York that could be worth approximately $129 million. With another team, the most he could sign for would be $95.8 million over four years.
The Heat, currently down 2-1 to the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals, cannot contact Anthony until the league's free agency period begins July 1, per NBA rules. The other relevant date in this situation is June 23, when Anthony has to let the Knicks know whether he plans to return to New York for the final year of his deal or use the opt-out clause in his contract to test free agency waters this summer.
GOLLIVER: Donald Sterling calls the NBA ‘a band of hypocrites and bullies’ in angry statement