If New York managed to sign two major free agents - such as Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving - this summer, the club planned to consider a reunion with Anthony, league sources told The Athletic's Shams Charania.
The Knicks would've become a contender in that scenario, making signing the veteran more suitable than adding him to a youthful roster amid a rebuild, adds Charania.
Anthony played some of his best basketball in the Big Apple, making seven consecutive All-Star Game appearances and earning All-NBA second-team honors twice.
The Syracuse product averaged 24.7 points and seven boards per game across seven seasons for the Knicks.
Anthony last played an NBA game in November, appearing in just 10 contests this past season for the Houston Rockets. He averaged 13.4 points on 40.5 percent shooting.
The 35-year-old was traded to the Chicago Bulls in January and waived a little over a week later.
Anthony has also been linked to the Los Angeles Lakers, but that move didn't come to fruition.
If the former NBA scoring champion remains unsigned, league executives believe Anthony will ink a one-day contract to retire with the Knicks, similar to what Amar'e Stoudemire did in July 2016, according to Charania.