The Thunder will move on from Anthony and his $27.9 million contract to save money on a historic payroll and luxury tax bill, according to ESPN.
By opting in to the final year of his deal this summer, Anthony increased the financial pressure on Oklahoma City, who are staring at a $310 million payroll after also re-signing Paul George and Jerami Grant.
When Russell Westbrook and Paul George were on the court WITHOUT Carmelo Anthony, the Thunder had a +14.4 Net efficiency rating... When Melo joined Russ and PG, that number fell to +4.9— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 6, 2018
To relieve the burden, the Thunder are reportedly working on ways to part with Anthony, whether that’s through a trade, a buyout or by using the stretch provision – in essence spreading Anthony’s salary onto the cap over three years.
Even if Anthony is traded, the team that acquires with him would likely to do so with the intention of waiving him.
Here’s a look at how Anthony would fit in Los Angeles, Houston and Miami.
The Lakers have already added a number of characters this offseason, so what’s one more big personality to throw into the mix?
Initially, the Lakers seem like the best destination for Anthony as a team in desperate need of shooters to surround James with. And with it looking unlikely that another elite player will join James in LA this summer, Anthony may at least placate LeBron’s desires to add more talent.
However, depending on if they make a trade for Kawhi Leonard, the Lakers are already stocked with plenty of wings between James, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Lance Stephenson, Josh Hart and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
Anthony would also go against the Lakers’ reported plan of putting together a strong defensive team – while he does have the ability to guard multiple positions, Anthony isn’t known for his defence.
With what the Lakers have done this summer though, anything is possible.
Anthony was linked with the Rockets last year and there reportedly remains interest from Houston’s side. Plus, they just lost their starting small forward, Trevor Ariza, in free agency to leave a hole in the starting lineup.
The Houston Rockets are among the teams that will have interest in Carmelo Anthony once he secures his free agency, according to league sources— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) July 6, 2018
He’s not exactly a one-for-one replacement for Ariza – who was so valuable in part because of his perimeter defence – but Anthony’s shooting fits perfectly in Houston’s bombs-away approach. And with more playmakers around him than he had in Oklahoma City, Anthony may finally reach the coveted, but elusive ‘Olympic Melo’ form.
As long as Anthony is willing to be a third option again, which isn’t a given.
If Anthony wants to go back to being a primary option, Miami makes the most sense.
They’re nowhere near the level of the Rockets or the Lakers in terms of being a contender, but the Heat could use the scoring punch, while surrounding him with defensive-minded players.
Putting up (mostly empty) numbers in a desirable location? Sounds like something right up Anthony’s alley.
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