The combustible relationship between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Carmelo Anthony appears to be coming to an end. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Oklahoma City Thunder will either trade the Small Forward or in a worse case scenario, buy out the contract of Carmelo Anthony.
The 34 years old Small Forward from Syracuse only lasted one season with the Thunder. They will now try to trade him out of Oklahoma City, similar to what the Charlotte Hornets did earlier this month with Dwight Howard.
By parting ways with Anthony, the Thunder will save themselves a ton of money. Late last month, Anthony exercised his player option on the second year of his contract, costing $27.9 million dollars to the Thunder. With Anthony opting in on his player option, with the combination of the Thunder signing Paul George to a four-year max contract worth $137 million dollars, the Thunder found themselves with a hefty payroll luxury tax of $310 million dollars, which is the largest payroll in the history of the organization.
With trading Anthony, the Thunder would resolve part of that problem as they could spread out the hit of $107 million dollars off the luxury tax. They would utilize the stretch provision, which would, in essence, cut off $90 million dollars in taxes, taking their overall luxury tax bill from $150 million, down to $60 million dollars. The provision would also take Anthony’s annual salary and break it down over the next three years, which would mean they would only be hit by a $9 million dollar charge per year, compared to the one time $27.9 million dollars hit to the salary cap.
Anthony has not been happy in Oklahoma City and felt that the Thunder did not utilize his skills to their potential. Anthony was asked to take a role off the bench, of which he refused and the relationship went south. He will now get a chance to prove his worth on another team, that is in need of a talented Small Forward.
Carmelo Anthony’s agent, Leon Rose, has strong ties with the Oklahoma City Thunder organization. Rose will work with the organization to make certain that his client is in a place that will satisfy Anthony and mutually beneficial to the team. Last year prior to signing with the Thunder, the Houston Rockets had shown interest in acquiring Anthony, however, he ended up landing in Oklahoma City.
Anthony is a ten-time NBA All–Star that came into the league in 2003 and the 3rd overall pick in the NBA Draft. Anthony has spent time with three teams throughout his NBA Career, the Denver Nuggets, New York Knicks and Oklahoma City Thunder. Anthony is 34 years old and still believes he has several decent years left in his prime. Last year, Anthony posted the lowest numbers in his career, with 16.2 points per game and 5.8 rebounds per game. With Russell Westbrook leading the way and Paul George helping out, Anthony went to the second round of the NBA Western Conference Playoffs last season.