Carroll made a big impression at The Hawthorns after joining on a short-term deal in January – with the striker impressing fans with his committed displays.
The former England man had gone on record to say he hoped to sign a new deal with the club – while many supporters also wanted him to stay with fans singing his name at Reading on Saturday.
Bruce, though, says in Daryl Dike and Kenneth Zohore he has two out and out number nines who he hopes can make a big impact next season.
Albion also have Callum Robinson and 16-goal top scorer Karlan Grant who can play up front.
And Bruce confirmed he wants to use the money that would have been spent on Carroll's wages elsewhere.
“We’ve got two centre forwards, one (Zohore) we’ve paid £8 million for and the other (Dike) £7 million in January," the boss said.
“They’re both number nines. Andy Carroll has done great for us and he’s in better nick now than he’s been for the last few years.
“He’s done tremendously well but he’s unfortunate that we’ve got two centre forwards who we hope this summer will be fit.
“I think I need to strengthen in other areas rather than at number nine.
“We need more threat in wide areas, we need midfield players because we’re limited in there for numbers.
“So we have to make tough decisions and believe me that was a really really tough decision because I know how popular Andy was with the fans and how popular he was in the dressing room.
“But I’ve got to think of the overall balance of the squad. His wages will be freed up for somebody else. That’s the stark reality of it."
Bruce believes Carroll won't be short of offers this summer despite the striker now being 33-year-old.
"Without question, I’m sure the phone will ring," the former Newcastle boss continued.
“He’s been fit, never missed a day’s training, scored three goals and he did well earlier in the season when he was playing at Reading too.
“A fit Andy Carroll is no problem but we’ve got Zohore and we’ve got to try to see if we can get a tune out of him.
"And I’ve got Dike, who we paid a lot of money for in January and who at this moment in time is fit again. It’s a big summer for him."