Carmelo Anthony

Report: As everyone expected, Carmelo Anthony to opt out of contract Monday

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New York media (and some Knicks fans) seem to be on pins and needles with the question of “will Carmelo Anthony opt out of the final year of his contract with the Knicks?”

Except, Anthony has said all along he intended to opt out of his contract. People around him said he wanted to be a free agent and get the “full Dwight Howard treatment” of being recruited. Phil Jackson has asked Anthony not to but said he expected the star forward to opt out of his contract. There has never been a question about that, the question was could the Knicks retain him?

The deadline for him to tell the Knicks he is opting out is Monday and he will do that, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

As planned, All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony will file notice with the New York Knicks on Monday that he plans to exercise the early termination option on his contract and become a free agent on July 1, a league source told Yahoo Sports.

The Knicks can offer the most money to Anthony as a free agent — five years, $129 million, comported to four years, $95 million max from any other team — but if Anthony is serious about being on a contending team he is going to have to take less.

The Chicago Bulls are considered front runners to sign Anthony, if they amnesty Carlos Boozer and trade Mike Dunleavy Jr. for picks (no salary on the books), plus maybe do the same to Jimmy Butler, they can offer north of $17 million a year for four years. That’s less than the max but the cost of going to a contender in the East.

If Houston can jettison the contracts of Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin for no money back (and reportedly they have that lined up) they can add ‘Melo to a core of Dwight Howard and James Harden.

The Lakers (with halfhearted interest), the Mavericks and other teams may also try to get in the mix.

The Knicks also have been informed that Andrea Bargnani and Amare Stoudemire are opting in to their massive deals, as has been expected, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.

Aaron Gordon both legs over the mascot, ball-under-the-legs dunk (VIDEO)

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TORONTO — Zach LaVine won the NBA All-Star Saturday Dunk Contest, but in an epic night for my money this was the single best dunk.

Orlando’s Aaron Gordon broke ground with this one — guys have jumped over mascots and other players before (and a Kia hood), but by splitting their legs apart. Gordon just put both legs over Stuff (that’s the mascot’s name, Stuff the Magic Dragon, I don’t make this up) — and took the ball off the mascot’s head, went under his legs, and threw it down.

Insane.

Gordon deserved a trophy for his performance in this dunk contest.

Zach LaVine edges Aaron Gordon in epic, insane Dunk Contest

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TORONTO — That. Was. Amazing.

In a dunk contest that will go down with the all-time greats — Jordan vs. Dominique, Dr. J from the free throw line — Minnesota’s Zach LaVine defended his dunk contest title. Barely. Because Orlando’s Aaron Gordon was doing dunks nobody had ever seen before.

And LaVine was bringing it just as hard.

The two men advanced to the finals — dismissing Will Barton and Andre Drummond, each of whom had good dunks — and that was when it got wild.

There were four second-round dunks, and four perfect scores of 50. (That was in spite of Shaq, who wanted to give nines for second attempts.)

“I was prepared for four (second round dunks),” LaVine said. “To tell the truth, he came with something that no one else has done. He did two dunks that were just crazy with the mascots, jumping over them. We just kept pushing each other until the last dunk. I’ve got to give it up to my boy Will “The Thrill” Barton. It’s because of him I think I won. Because he said try to go from the free-throw line. I’d never done that before, and I just tried it. So I guess it was a great dunk. I think it was the best one ever.”

The Air Canada Centre crowd was exploding with every dunk. The two men went to a dunk-off — and got two more 50s.

“If I knew it was going to be like that, I would have prepared better and we would have been here dunking all night, going back 50 after 50 after 50 after 50,” Gordon said. “We would have been here all night. I didn’t know it was going to be like that. I was just hoping Zach was going to miss, and it wasn’t going to happen. You could see as my facial expressions when Zach dunks it, it’s like okay, that’s a 50. Like I know we’re going to have to dunk again.”

So they went to a second-round of overtime, where LaVine put up another 50 and won the contest.

Gordon was close to perfect.

Zach LaVine can flat-out fly.

Magic’s Aaron Gordon with the over-the-mascot mad dunk

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TORONTO — Aaron Gordon was giving Zach LaVine all he could handle in the Dunk Contest.

He blew the lid off the Air Canada Centre with this dunk in the first round — and it wasn’t even his best dunk of the night. Never seen this before.

This dunk contest was awesome, so much more video to come.

Zach LaVine opens Slam Dunk Contest title defense with spectacular behind-the-back slam (VIDEO)

during the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge 2016 at Air Canada Centre on February 12, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.
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TORONTO — Zach LaVine clearly heard all the talk that Aaron Gordon or Will Barton had a chance to upset him in the Slam Dunk Contest. He came out ready to prove his superiority right off the bat. This behind-the-back slam was his first attempt of the night:

Even better was the reaction, both from Andre Drummond and from LaVine’s Minnesota teammates: