In one of the most understood moves of the summer, Oklahoma City and Carmelo Anthony’s reps are working to get Carmelo Anthony out of Oklahoma City before the season starts.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the talks have begun to buy out and/or trade Anthony. The move will save the Thunder just over $105 million in total salary and tax. Anthony’s agent, Leon Rose of CAA Sports, has a strong relationship and history with Thunder general manager Sam Presti, and they’ll work together on Anthony’s exit through trade, the NBA’s stretch provision or a combined buyout and stretch.
Any trade that happens will have to go through Anthony. He owns a no trade clause and therefore can control wherever he wants to go. That said, it’s highly expected any move the Thunder make will be a salaried dump for both teams. Whoever takes on Anthony’s contract will agree to waive him immediately.
Oklahoma City can use the stretch provision on Anthony’s $27.9 million contract to eliminate a staggering $107 million off the team’s 2018-19 payroll and tax bill, but the Thunder first plan to pursue trade possibilities with teams looking to acquire a massive expiring deal to free up salary cap space for July 2019 free agency.
When you stretch a contract, you can stretch it double the length of the remaining years plus one. So, Anthony’s contract is one year long, so you double it: two years of stretching and then plus one. So, you can stretch it over three years.
Houston is the first team that is interested in Anthony’s ability if and when he’s bought out or traded.
Anthony arrived from New York after waiving his no trade clause, sending Enes Kanter to the Knicks and bringing what everyone thought would be the “Big Three.” After injuries and inconsistencies eliminated the “Big Three” monicker, Oklahoma City made comments at exit interviews, the Thunder’s core would be Russ, PG and Steven.
Anthony did give it 100 percent. Despite some obviously flare ups on the bench in the playoffs about playing time. Oklahoma City and Anthony experiment didn’t work out for either side, despite both giving everything to it.
“I think for me, my focus would be on kind of figuring out what I want out of the rest of my career, what I want in my future, what am I willing to accept, if I’m willing to accept that at all,” Anthony said in his exit interview. “I think everybody knows that I’ve sacrificed kind of damned near everything — family, moving here by myself, sacrificed my game — for the sake of the team, and was willing to sacrifice anything and everything in order for this situation to work out.
Any trade the Thunder made would be a salary dump as well. Even if it was to Chicago for let’s say Robin Lopez, who makes $14 million this upcoming season, it would save Oklahoma City an extra $15 million in salary and taxes.
Oklahoma City has until August 31 to part ways with Anthony or be liable for his entire salary on the year’s cap.
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