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Report: Anthony to become a free agent, Bulls and Rockets are front-runners

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The NBA's free agency period begins on July 1 and and New York Knick's Carmelo Anthony is sure to draw his share of suitors when he opts out of the final year of his contract by June 23.

According to Yahoo Sports, the All-Star small forward has the Chicago Bulls and Houston Rockets as front-runners and the only holdup is both teams clearing the necessary cap space to sign him.

Anthony met with Knicks officials on Friday but didn't budge on his stance of winning now, rather than waste another season in New York until the team would be able to add another star and depth next summer when the contracts of Tyson Chandler, Amar'e Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani come off the books.

The Bulls will have to make some major moves if they hope on acquiring Anthony. Aware of not wanting to lose valuable pieces to the current core, the hope would be to engage the Knicks in sign-a-trade deals that would no doubt include Carlos Boozer's expiring contract.

If they used the amnesty provision on Boozer, they would have to trade Taj Gibson and another player such as Mike Dunleavy or Jimmy Butler to sign Anthony to a max deal in the range of $90 million-plus over four years.

The Bulls still have strong hopes of re-signing D.J. Augustin this summer as well as bringing over Nikola Mirotic.

Anthony is fond of Bulls' coach Tom Thibodeau and the style of play that kept them as one of the toughest teams to play with missing Derrick Rose for the better part of two seasons.

“They’re always going to be there and compete, play hard; for whatever reason that is,” Anthony said in March. “I don’t know if it’s Thibs system, but for whatever reason, they’re always going to be there competing.”

The Bulls also hold the 16 and 19th pick in this year's draft and would be looking to trade both to avoid adding two rookie scale salaries on their books.