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Report: Oklahoma City Thunder looking to part ways with Carmelo Anthony

SENIOR ANALYST
Rumors
763   //    03 May 2018, 10:59 IST

Oklahoma City Thunder v Los Angeles Clippers
Anthony in action for the Thunder

What's the story?


As reported by Sean Deveney of Sporting News, the Oklahoma City Thunder are looking for avenues to initiate a trade for Carmelo Anthony if the 10-time All-Star opts into the final year of his current contract, which will set the Thunder back by nearly $28 million over the 2018-19 season.

Also read: Possible trade packages for Carmelo Anthony

Anthony arrived at Oklahoma City in late September following months of deliberation between the New York Knicks and the Thunder. In the season that he's spent with the Thunder franchise, they made it to the playoffs as the #4 seed in the Western Conference before being eliminated from championship contention by the 5th seeded Utah Jazz in 6 games.


In case you didn't know


Melo criticized the Thunder coaching staff in an interview taken with him 4 days ago, stating that Billy Donovan and co had no strategy to assimilate him and his playing style within the confines of their offensive system, adding that he didn't think he could be effective as a catch-and-shoot player.

Melo further stated that he would be unwilling to come off the bench next season.


The heart of the matter


Melo, Paul George and Russell Westbrook joined forces at the start of this campaign as part of a new 'Big Three' in Oklahoma City and were highly tipped to become championship contenders. In a season when the Thunder failed to sort out its offense and give enough touches to all three of its stars, they underwhelmed with a 48-34 record which was just 1 game better than their 2016-17 record of 47-35.

Furthermore, they succeeded in winning just one more game in the postseason, losing 4-2 in the first round to the Utah Jazz.

Anthony posted career lows in scoring during both the regular season as well as the playoffs, with averages of 16.2 points per game in the former and a lowly 11.8 points per game in the playoffs. He failed to mesh with the role of a third option in the Thunder offense.


What's next?


Anthony's showing in the past season will make his $28 million contract nearly immovable for the Thunder. They cannot realistically expect to receive much of value for that amount of cap space, which means that they will probably have to satisfy themselves with getting role players in return for him.

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Anthony's no-trade clause is still applicable, and convincing him to join another franchise will be tough - particularly if they are not contending for the title, or in the playoffs at least.


Author's take


As much as Anthony is culpable for his poor performance through the 2017-18 season, he was correct in his assessment of the Thunder coaching staff. This might generate enough friction between the two parties to enhance the Thunder's chances of trading him by waiving his no-trade clause.

Finding a potential suitor for Anthony will be a tough job, but Sam Presti has proved in the past that he has the managerial nous to put together a substantial trade package. Given the rumors swirling around the league, and the backlash Anthony has faced for his seemingly unrealistic demeanor to his declining play, it looks more than likely that his spell at the Thunder was fated to be a short one.

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SENIOR ANALYST
Started as an Arsenal fan at the age of 6. Became a Ronaldo and a Real Madrid fan after the 2002 World Cup. Bandwagon Celtics fan this season, though I've watched the NBA with increasing frequency over the past 14 years or so. Played both games with my high school team at some of the highest levels there are in India. Played against East Bengal u-17s in college. A member of Mercurial FC, 1st division Amateur League team in Bangalore.
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