The Oklahoma City Thunder have officially traded forward Carmelo Anthony to the Atlanta Hawks in a blockbuster three-team trade, according to Royce Young of ESPN, as first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
The Thunder will send a 2022 first-round pick along with Anthony and receive point guard Dennis Schroder and forward/center Mike Muscala.
OKC will then trade Muscala to the Philadelphia 76ers for forward Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, while the Sixers will send guard Justin Anderson to the Hawks.
Anthony is expected to be bought out for his full $27.9 million salary by the Hawks, allowing him to become an unrestricted free agent and sign a one-year, $2.4 million deal with the Houston Rockets, who have been the frontrunners for his services.
The perennial All-Star has shown that you can have your cake and eat it too, as he will make north of $30 million this season between the buyout amount and his awaiting deal for the veteran’s minimum.
A known and proven scorer, Anthony had scored 20 or more points in each of his first 14 seasons in the NBA, taking a steep decline in his most recent season with the Thunder, averaging a mere 16.2 points as the third scoring option for the Thunder.
Despite previous concerns on his health, Anthony has played 72 or more games, including 78 games last season — the most since his third year in the league.
It’s still unknown how he will be used once he ultimately arrives in Clutch City, but he will surely be an upgrade in sheer firepower at the forward position.
The Thunder will get a more-than-decent asset in the flourishing Dennis Schroder, who is still under contract for the next three seasons for $15.5 million a year. Schroder will likely have to play under talisman Russell Westbrook, given his small stature at 6-foot-1, rendering him unable to move to the shooting guard position, mostly due to his shooting struggled (29 percent from deep last season).
The Sixers will unload two contracts that would have proven to be a commitment down the road, while giving them a serviceable stretch-four that can make up for the blunder with Nemanja Bjelica, who chose to sign with the Sacramento Kings instead of signing a one-year, $5.3 million offer with Philadelphia after previously agreeing to it.