Free agency opens in the NBA with LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony atop the class

Free agency has opened in the NBA with LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony leading the available players.

Players and teams could begin negotiating just past midnight EDT on Tuesday morning, though contracts can't be signed until July 10.

James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, who joined together in Miami in 2010 and have led the Heat to two championships and four straight NBA Finals, all became free agents.

Though many expect that trio to stay with the Heat, Anthony could be persuaded to leave the New York Knicks for a team that he believes gives him a better chance to compete for a championship.

Longtime stars Paul Pierce and Dirk Nowitzki also are free agents, along with players such as Toronto's Kyle Lowry and Indiana's Lance Stephenson.