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Amare Carmelo
Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Amare Carmelo
Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

It could be just a case of wishful thinking, but Amar’e Stoudemire is telling anyone who will listen he’s convinced free-agent-to-be Knicks teammate Carmelo Anthony will opt for an NYC encore.

While the veteran forward insists he will give the NBA’s No. 2 top scorer behind league MVP Kevin Durant all the room he needs to make his own choice, Stoudemire maintains he is optimistic.

“My gut feeling is that Carmelo will be staying,” Stoudemire told ESPN’s “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” show earlier this week. “That’s my gut feeling right now.”

The 29-year-old Anthony will have no shortage of options when he officially opts out of his deal and becomes a free agent on July 1. The Bulls, Warriors, Rockets, and Clippers have all stated their intentions of pursuing Anthony.

And then there are the Knicks and Phil Jackson, who with a five-year max deal of $129 million can offer Anthony some $30 million more than any other suitor.

While Anthony has hinted at this point in his career he might be willing to take less from the Knicks to afford management the leverage to sign other top tier players, he has also openly seemed intrigued by the prospect of playing for the Bulls under Coach Tom Thibodeau and alongside star players Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah.

Even as the Knicks struggled to a 37-45 finish a year after winning 50 games, Anthony averaged 27.4 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game. In his first four seasons in NYC, Anthony has averaged 26 points, seven rebounds, and four assists.

Over All-Star Weekend in New Orleans last February, rumors surfaced Noah had already started his sales pitch to Anthony aimed at landing him in Chicago. Anthony figures to hear more of the same over the summer when he is planning at the World Games, where Thibodeau will be an assistant coach and Rose perhaps as a member of the roster.