The Oklahoma City Thunder have been frantically trying to find a way to get rid of Carmelo Anthony’s $28 million contract this summer, ever since he, wisely, elected to let the deadline to terminate the deal pass.
The Thunder didn’t want to just buy Anthony out and have to eat all that money, even using the stretch provision to limit this year’s tax hit, so they were shopping him to teams with major cap space. The Atlanta Hawks became the focal point of those discussions recently and on Thursday the two sides managed to come to an agreement on a deal.
Anthony and a 2022 protected first rounder will go to Atlanta, who in turn will send OKC Dennis Schröder and Mike Muscala, with Anthony waiving his no-trade clause in order to facilitate the deal that will end in him being bought out and likely heading to Houston this summer.
The pick, per ESPN’s Royce Young, will be a lottery protected first.
For the Hawks, this is a great deal as they were struggling to find a trade partner for Schröder given his contract and pending legal issues, but the Thunder are willing to take that risk to add another ball-handler and hope to tap into the potential he’s shown at times during his career.
Muscala will be flipped to the Sixers in a three-team deal, as the Thunder want to avoid taking on his $5 million that would be much more than that with their high tax bill. Philadelphia will send Atlanta Justin Anderson and OKC Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot to make money work, per the AJC’s Chris Vivlamore and Yahoo’s Shams Charania.
All told, the Thunder will save almost $75 million by moving Anthony for Schröder’s $15.5 million deal thanks to the huge tax savings.
Anthony, for his part, will not have to sacrifice any money in a buyout.
As for how Schröder will work with Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony, only time will tell, but both sides seem to have gotten what they wanted here. Atlanta manages to wrangle a future first for Dennis along with eating up their cap space to reach the floor, while OKC unloads Anthony and adds backcourt help.