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The Oklahoma City Thunder hopes to address their financial woes by parting ways with All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony this summer.
Anthony, who had a subpar season last year averaging career lows of 16.2 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 1.3 assists, exercised his one-year $27.9 million deal to return to the Thunder for the 2018-19 season. Currently, the Thunder has spent $310 million in payroll and luxury tax, which also happens to be a league record.
The three-time Olympic gold-medalist lost control of his future after he decided to opt-in with his contract. The Thunder were able to re-sign up-and-coming forward Jerami Grant on a three-year $27 million deal.
Sources around the league say that the Thunder are working with Anthony’s agent Leon Rose with the hopes of trading or buying out the 34-year-old superstar. Among the teams who are expected to make a run at Anthony are the Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, and the Miami Heat. It can be recalled that the Rockets were heavy suitors of Anthony last offseason before he was traded to the Thunder.
Moving Anthony A Win-Win For Both Sides
Parting ways with Anthony’s expiring contract would create more cap space for the Thunder heading into the next offseason. Additionally, it would also give the team an ability to save an eye-popping number of $107 million in payroll and tax bill in the 2018-19 season. Moreover, the stretch provision would also result in a $90 million drop in tax, hence turning the $150 million tax bill of the Thunder to just $60 million.
A new scenery would also help Anthony, who has been frustrated by his role with the Thunder. It can be brought to mind that Anthony had some words with assistant coach Maurice Cheeks in game 5 after the former begged to come off the bench and go into the game. In addition, the 10-time All-Star has also made it clear that he won’t be playing as a bench player.
“I think I was willing to accept that challenge in that role, but I think I bring a little bit more to the game as far as being more knowledgeable and what I still can do as a basketball player,” an adamant Anthony expressed.
Anthony’s playing time was also reduced to 26 minutes in game 6, which included a three-minute appearance in the fourth quarter. He wound up finishing the series with 11.8 points per game while making just .375 percent of his shots from the field and .214 percent from the three-point territory.
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