by Marcel Mutoni @ marcel_mutoni

The New York Knicks’ window of opportunity is rapidly closing, and they may also be on the verge of losing their biggest star.

Carmelo Anthony says he’s looking forward to free agency next summer.

Even though Melo’s desire to be courted by the rest of the NBA doesn’t necessarily mean he’s leaving New York, this is probably not what Knicks fans want to hear on the verge of such a crucial season.

Per the New York Observer:

Anthony is clear he expects to win a title. “I feel like I’m going to get one, this year, next year. I still got a long time in this league,” he says. But even if he doesn’t, Anthony rejects the semantics that one has to win to be a winner. “Barkley, Ewing, John Stockton, Karl Malone, Reggie Miller—you mean to tell me they’re not great? Yeah, a championship validates that. But these guys are great.”

“I want to be a free agent,” Anthony says. “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.” Take a breath, Knicks fans. That doesn’t mean he’s leaving. “I came to New York for a reason,” Anthony adds. “I’ve been with you all my life, almost to a fault. I wanted to come here and take on the pressures of playing in New York. So one thing I would tell my fans: If you haven’t heard it from me, then it ain’t true.”

Here’s the thing: under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement, the New York Knicks can offer Anthony a five-year deal worth about $129 million next summer, while other teams could only sign him to a four-year contract worth around $96 million.

Though it has to be concerning that Anthony wants to test the free agent waters for the first time in his career, Knicks fans can take comfort in that Melo seems happy in Gotham, and envisions the team contending for a title. What happens next, though, is anyone’s guess.