(Reuters) - Prolific scorer Carmelo Anthony is hammering out the final details on a contract to return to the New York Knicks, according to media reports on Saturday.
Anthony, who averaged 27.4 points last season for the Knicks and is the biggest free agent on the market following Friday’s decision by LeBron James to sign with Cleveland, was expected to make an announcement as soon as Sunday, reports said.
The seven-time All-Star could sign a five-year contract for as much as $129 million under NBA rules, but he may elect to take less in order to give the Knicks more room under the salary cap to improve the team by shopping for other free agents.
Anthony, 30, became a free agent by opting out of the final two years of a contract that would have paid him more than $23 million next season.
He had been hotly pursued by several teams including the Chicago Bulls, who were only able to offer him four years and $75 million due to their salary cap situation.
The Bulls were believed to be shifting their focus to free agent forward Pau Gasol.
In other NBA news, the Utah Jazz have retained Gordon Hayward after matching the Charlotte Hornets’ four-year, $63 million offer sheet.
Hayward, 24, averaged career highs of 16.2 points, 5.1 rebounds and 5.2 assists last season for the Jazz.
The Phoenix Suns confirmed the acquisition of point guard Isaiah Thomas in a sign-and-trade deal with the Sacramento Kings. The 5-foot-9 Thomas averaged 20.3 points and 6.3 assists for the Kings last season.
In return, Sacramento receives the rights to forward Alex Oriakhi, Phoenix’s second-round draft pick a year ago, and gets a $7 million trade exemption.
The NBA champion San Antonio Spurs announced they had re-signed Australian guard Patty Mills despite a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder that will sideline him for six months.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, although local reports said Mills signed for three years.
Mills averaged 10.2 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.8 assists as a key member of San Antonio’s deep bench, ranking seventh in the league in three-point field goal percentage.
Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Gene Cherry