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Carmelo Anthony says he'll be a free agent, loosely linked to Lakers

Pro BasketballCarmelo AnthonyLos Angeles LakersKobe BryantNew York KnicksNBALeBron James

The Lakers figure to have significant spending power next summer. One of the top free agents available will be New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony.

Anthony, who has an early termination option for the 2014-15 season ($23.3 million), recently told the New York Observer that he intends to opt out.

"I want to be a free agent," said Anthony. "I think everybody in the NBA dreams to be a free agent at least one time in their career. It's like you have an evaluation period, you know. It's like if I'm in the gym and I have all the coaches, all the owners, all the GMs come into the gym and just evaluate everything I do. So yes, I want that experience."

That doesn't mean Anthony will leave the Knicks.

Just as Chris Paul opted out of his contract with the Clippers this past summer, only to re-sign at the first opportunity in July, Anthony could lock in a bigger contract with the Knicks if he follows the same path.

"I don't want to go anywhere," Anthony said on Tuesday to the New York Post.

What about the Lakers?

"What other team would they say?" asked Anthony about widespread media speculation. "I don't think they'd say another team. That's the only team they'd possibly say."

"I'm in New York," he said. "This is not something I want to keep going on.  At the end of the day, I don't want to go anywhere. But when that time comes, I'll deal with that situation."

The Lakers are preparing for the 2013-14 season with an eye on next summer.

It's unclear how they will use their spending power. Anthony is a clear possibility. The Lakers could make a lucrative offer that might tempt the high-scoring forward to make a change -- but in October of 2013, it's too early to guess what happens in July of 2014.

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Email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

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