Report: Amar'e Stoudemire will opt in, obviously

Bruce Bennett

And though it hasn't been reported yet, Andrea Bargnani surely will, too.

This is a sourced report, not an official announcement, but it is so inevitable an outcome that you might not have even known there was a decision to be made. Amar'e Stoudemire, like Carmelo Anthony, has an early termination option in his contract that would allow him to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. Unlike Melo, Amar'e doesn't have teams lining up to pull him from the Knicks with a lucrative long-term deal, so he has no clear reason to turn down the $23 million he's due. And so both rumor and common sense dictate that Stoudemire will opt in and delay his free agency until the summer of 2015. Chris Haynes reports:

As most suspected, New York Knicks power forward Amar'e Stoudemire has declined to exercise his early termination option and will return to the Knicks for the 2014-15 season to finish out the final year of his five-year, $100 million deal, a league source informed CSNNW.com.

"He is opting in," said the source that spoke on condition of anonymity because an official announcement has yet to be made. If he had chose to exercise his ETO, he would have become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

The same, incidentally goes for Andrea Bargnani, who has the option to walk away from the $11.5 million year left on his deal and pursue unrestricted free agency, but absolutely no incentive to do that. Barring some wildness, both Stoudemire and Bargnani will play for the Knicks next season, occupying a large chunk of team salary disproportionate to their on-court value. They'll also be tradeable if another team wants a big-ass expiring contract for some reason. But we knew all that.

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