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Thunder could save $100 million by stretching Carmelo Anthony’s contract

Carmelo Anthony

The offseason is shaping up better than the Oklahoma City Thunder expected. Well, sort of.

After more than a year of speculation that All-Star forward Paul George is bolting for his hometown team in the Los Angeles Lakers the moment the clock starts midnight in free agency (which precipitated the preemptive trade to OKC by the Indiana Pacers in the first place), the franchise surprisingly locked up the All-Star quickly with a four-year, $137 million pact. Not long after agreeing to terms with the forward, they quickly re-upped combo forward Jerami Grant who’s been rapidly garnering interest from multiple teams with a three-year, $27-million deal.

The flipside to securing their core is that puts their payroll at around $156 million. With the NBA announcing that the luxury tax is set at $123.7 million, coupled with the repeater tax penalty incurred by the multiple times they have exceeded the tax threshold for many seasons now — the Thunder are expected to shell out upwards to $130 million in tax.

The hits would just keep coming considering that they only have 11 players currently under contract; someone has to give. That someone could very well be Carmelo Anthony.

Widely blamed as one of the catalysts to the Thunder’s unceremonious first-round exit, Melo, to no one’s surprise, immediately opted into the final year of the remaining $28 million on his contract. Seeking to extricate themselves from the toxic 34-year-old, Nate Duncan of the Dunc’d On podcast suggested that the team could probably look into “stretch waiving” the 6-f00t-8 forward.

Under this Collective Bargaining Agreement provision, the team may waive Anthony and stretch the payout to three years, providing cap relief to the team for the purposes of either relaxing their tax hit or to fill up the roster. The estimated savings for doing the move is around $91 million which would certainly be hard to turn down.