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OKC likely to part ways with Carmelo Anthony after Jerami Grant signing

Carmelo Athony, Thunder, Jerami Grant

The Oklahoma City Thunder made the first bang of the free agency period, not only guaranteeing the return of Paul George, but getting him to commit long-term, rewarding him with a four-year, $137 million max deal and a welcome party to boot.

The franchise quickly followed with Jerami Grant, agreeing to a beefy three-year, $27 million deal for their reserve — a contract that only spells a massive luxury tax bill on the way and a quick break-up with Carmelo Anthony, according to several sources.

Anthony recently opted into the last year of his contract, a $28 million payment that the Thunder have been hesitant to shell out due to his poor performance in his first year with the team.

Melo was coming off 14 straight seasons averaging 20 or more points per game as one of the few big-time perennial scorers in this league, but his partnership with Russell Westbrook and Paul George pegged him as the third option after being the top scoring choice for the first 14 years of his career.

Anthony has refused to come off the bench, having already agreed to buy into being the third option in this team — which now offers clear resistance to the plan the Thunder have in mind.

Grant’s signing only spells him moving into the starting power forward position and OKC parting ways with Anthony, as it is unlikely that a team will be willing to take on his massive contract at this stage of his career.

The Thunder are already $130 million into the luxury tax with only 11 players under contract, and will hope to handle this divorce with Anthony as professionally as possible and not humiliate the 10-time All-Star, who has just not been the right fit with this organization.