June 23, 2014 at 10:04 pm

Monday's NBA roundup: Carmelo Anthony headed for free agency; Tim Duncan will return

Tim Duncan and his daughter, Sidney, hope to ride in another parade celebrating an NBA title for the Spurs. Duncan, 38, agreed to pick up his option and play another season in San Antonio, where he has won five NBA titles. Only the Celtics, Lakers and Bulls have more titles than the Spurs. (Michael Thomas / Associated Press)

New York — Carmelo Anthony “loves being a Knick” but is headed for free agency because he wants to explore his options, his agent said.

Anthony had a Monday deadline to terminate the final year of his contract and had already informed the team he would do so. He will be able to negotiate with teams starting July 1.

“Carmelo loves being a Knick, he loves the city and the fans,” Leon Rose said. “At this stage of his career he just wants to explore his options.”

The best one financially would be to return to New York, which can offer him an extra year and around $25 million more than any team under NBA rules.

But Anthony has said his priority at this stage of his career is to contend for championships, and the Knicks are coming off a 37-45 season and have little ability to upgrade the roster this summer because of salary cap rules.

Teams such as Chicago, Houston, Dallas and Miami have all been mentioned as teams that could be interested in the All-Star forward, and all are playoff teams with established stars already on the roster.

Anthony would have earned $23.3 million next season had he chosen to play out the final year of his deal. Knicks president Phil Jackson had told Anthony it may be a good idea to consider that, but Anthony had repeatedly said his preference was to become a free agent this summer, and he reiterated that to Jackson, general manager Steve Mills and new coach Derek Fisher during a recent meeting in Los Angeles.

Anthony averaged 27.4 points and 8.1 rebounds last season. Both Jackson and Fisher have said they hope the two-time Olympic gold medalist stays, but will be prepared if he doesn’t.

“I’m not losing sleep over it, but I’m definitely concerned about the idea of a guy going into free agency. It only takes one bidder out there that has the ability and can ruin your hopes and your chances,” Jackson said recently.

“We will survive it. That’s what I’ve said and we’ll go forward. But this is a guy, we recognize his talent and his skill is the kind of skill and talent that gets you through playoff games where things get sticky, grind out and basketball becomes a force game and suddenly you need to have a player who has the capabilities of scoring with someone hanging on them in a situation that’s critical. He’s one of those players, one of the few players who can do that.”

Sterling trial

A Los Angeles judge has asked lawyers for more legal documents arguing their points before he decides whether to approve the $2 billion sale of the Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

Shelley Sterling is trying to sell the team without the consent of her estranged husband, Donald, after doctors who examined him said he lacks the mental capacity to decide such matters.

The judge said the Sterling Family Trust does not allow the mercurial billionaire to contest medical findings which are sufficient to remove him as a trustee. But he agreed to consider arguments at a hearing June 30 before a scheduled July 7 trial.

Duncan will return

Tim Duncan is exercising the option on his contract for 2014-15 and will return to the Spurs next season, according to reports.

Duncan turned 38 in April and won his fifth title with the Spurs this month. That led to some speculation that he could retire after 17 seasons.

But many also expected Duncan to return next season because he continues to play at a high level. Duncan will make $10.3 million next season.

The No. 1 pick is ...

The Bucks appear to be narrowing their focus on Duke’s Jabari Parker or Kansas’ Andrew Wiggins with the second selection in this week’s draft,

New team co-owner Marc Lasry says Milwaukee is looking for someone who can help “from Day 1.”

That would seem to preclude 7-foot Kansas center Joel Embiid, (foot surgery).

Felton plea deal

New York prosecutors say Knicks point guard Raymond Felton is expected to plead guilty in a felony gun possession case in exchange for community service and a $5,000 fine. The plea date is set for June 30.