Should James elect to delay free agency for a year and choose to opt in for the $21 million he's owed by the Heat next season, sources say, he is at the top of the list of free agents the Knicks are telling Anthony they intend to pursue in the summer of 2015.
ESPN's Stephen A. Smith said on his ESPN New York radio show Tuesday and in subsequent interviews that Anthony and James have expressed the mutual desire to play together before their careers end and will look into teaming up if both wind up on the open market in July 2015.
Chicago, Houston and Dallas are teams Anthony will consider starting July 1, sources say, if the 30-year-old does decide to become a free agent this summer. But it's believed the opportunity to join James in Miami would trump all other options, especially after Anthony made it a point earlier this season in an interview for NBA TV to say how "smart" James was to join forces with Wade and Bosh when he did.
The Heat are the NBA's first team to reach four consecutive NBA Finals since the Boston Celtics from 1984 to 1987 and are trying to become just the fourth franchise in league history -- along with the Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers and Bulls -- to complete a three-peat.
James, Wade and Bosh all have until the end of June, sources say, to notify the Heat whether they intend to opt into their respective final years of their current contracts or become free agents this July 1.
ESPN.com's Darren Rovell contributed to this report.