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All signs point to Carmelo Anthony staying with New York Knicks

The Knicks' star is taking the July 4 weekend to make a decision, but early indications suggest it's only a matter of time until he accepts New York's five-year maximum offer.

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Update: While the Knicks seemingly remain the favorite to land Anthony, the latest reports indicate the Lakers made a significant impression during their pitch and are a legitimate contender to sign Anthony.

Free agent All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony isn't expected to make a decision on his future until the July 4 weekend ends, but the expectation is that he'll stick around and accept New York's maximum contract offer, according to multiple reports.

Most notably, Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski writes that Anthony is "aligned" with team president Phil Jackson's vision for the franchise.

In the meeting that included general manager Steve Mills, Jackson dispelled doubts that he was indifferent about Anthony staying with the Knicks, sources said. New York officials have made it clear to Anthony that they need him on the roster to have a chance to attract star players in free agency, sources said. After a week of franchises fawning over him during recruiting trips to Chicago, Houston, Dallas and the Los Angeles Lakers, Anthony needed to hear that enthusiasm out of the Knicks' top management - and of course needed that max contract extension made available to him.

Other New York reporters, including mortal enemies Frank Isola of the New York Daily News and Marc Berman of the New York Post, are on the same page. Per NBA rules, Anthony can only accept a five-year maximum contract from the Knicks. His other suitors -- a list that includes the Rockets, Bulls, Mavericks and Lakers -- can only offer him a four-year maximum contract. In every case but the Knicks and Lakers, additional cap-clearing moves may be needed to even clear the space to offer Anthony a four-year maximum contract.

Anthony was nevertheless insistent on avoiding a repeat of last season, when the Knicks missed the playoffs as his supporting cast crumbled around him. The Knicks lack any salary-cap space, but that hasn't stopped Jackson from trying to make moves. He already traded declining center Tyson Chandler for savvy point guard Jose Calderon and is now trying to lure Pau Gasol to the Big Apple with the taxpayer mid-level exception. That'd represent a pay cut for the Spanish big man, but he is reportedly interested in playing with Anthony.

If other teams can't sign Anthony, they must turn elsewhere. The Rockets, for example, are reportedly contemplating a big offer for Miami's Chris Bosh.

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