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NBA Free Agency: The Oklahoma City Thunder Make NBA Salary Cap History

Yash Matange
FEATURED WRITER
News
887   //    Timeless

Oklahoma City Thunder v Utah Jazz - Game Six
Left to Right: Paul George, Carmelo Anthony and Russell Westbrook

What's the story?


The Oklahoma City Thunder, a 10-year old franchise, just made NBA salary cap history by becoming the first team ever to have a roster worth $300 million between the roster's payroll and luxury-tax bill.


In case you didn't know


The 2016-17 MVP Russell Westbrook has earned his mark of being the team's highest earner - $35.3 million. Paul George re-signing with the team at the max has him earning $30.5 million. Meanwhile, the team's starting center is slated to receive $24.1 million for this upcoming 2018-19 season.


Heart of the matter


The franchise went past the $300 million threshold when they re-signed free agent point guard Raymond Felton. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski had confirmed that signing late on Tuesday night.


Few minutes after that, it was Woj's colleague, ESPN's Bobby Marks that confirmed the news on OKC's payroll.


A huge part of the team's huge tax bill is being in the repeater tax. Probably the most feasible way to dump some salary in an attempt to reduce the bills would be to reduce the cheques on the least "value-for-money" player - Carmelo Anthony. The 10-time All-Star opted into his contract for next year, which is worth $27.9 million. Now, the team could buy him out, stretch his contract or just trade him with the latter being the toughest move to complete.


As of right now, the Thunder have a 10-man guarantee roster, which is worth approximately being paid just above $157 million dollars. Although Melo's huge salary comes off their books for next season, this current tax bill is quite steep given the fact that they aren't exactly ranking at the top with respect to next season's championship contenders.


What's next?


The franchise has just two options - get something done with Melo's contract or do nothing and pay the current hefty bill. The season isn't until mid-October so it would be interesting to see which direction the Thunder go, especially given their history with wanting to pay the tax (the James Harden situation in 2012)

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Yash Matange
FEATURED WRITER
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