With James and Anthony both notifying the Miami Heat and New York Knicks, respectively, that they will opt out of their contracts, NBA teams are already targeting landing both superstars as a tandem, ESPN has learned.
Sources have told ESPN on Tuesday that the Cleveland Cavaliers and Atlanta Hawks are among the teams already thinking of potential trades that would clear enough cap space to be able to recruit the two superstars and close friends.
In addition, the Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly trying to package the expiring contract of former two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash and the No. 7 pick in the NBA Draft to interested teams to further clear enough room to offer James and Anthony at least $16 million apiece.
This report comes after Melo notified the Knicks on Monday that he will opt out of the final year of his contract and become a free agent on July 1, and James did the same with the Heat on Tuesday. Anthony counts a long list of suitors including the Knicks, Chicago Bulls, Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks, Lakers, Hawks and Heat with the Bulls as the reported front runners. Meanwhile, Yahoo Sports NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted that James is “determined to impose pressure on Miami to improve roster and spend, sources say” on Tuesday.
James’s Heat teammates Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh have until next Monday, June 30 to decide if they’ll opt out like LeBron or opt in for their respective salaries for the 2014-15 season.
Last week, during his season-ending address, Heat president Pat Riley called the prospect of adding Melo to Miami’s existing Big Three a “pipe dream.”
Anthony and James have been longtime friends, but this marks the first time that both are unrestricted free agents simultaneously.
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(Photo: REUTERS/Mike Segar)