The Thunder have agreed to trade forward Carmelo Anthony and a protected 2022 first-round pick to the Hawks, reports ESPN. Anthony will be waived by Atlanta soon, and the Rockets are expected to be his primary suitor in free agency.
It’s actually a three-team deal involving the Hawks and 76ers, per Yahoo! Sports. Atlanta will receive Anthony, Justin Anderson and the protected first-rounder. Philadelphia receives Mike Muscala from the Hawks, while Oklahoma City gets the Hawks’ Dennis Schroder and the 76ers’ Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot.
Oklahoma City pulled the trigger on this deal in order to clear out Anthony’s massive salary and lower its luxury tax payment by nearly $100 million for next season. In order to make that happen, the team needed to sweeten the pot with a protected first-round pick that’s ultimately the real return for the Hawks in this trade.
Anthony, 34, played just one season for the Thunder after spending six-plus years in New York. He struggled as the third option behind Russell Westbrook and Paul George, who will be returning to OKC next season without him. In 78 games, Anthony averaged 16.2 points and 5.8 rebounds per game while shooting 40 percent from the floor.
The Thunder could’ve waived Anthony or used the stretch provision on his contract instead of a trade, but decided to move him for a pair of players who could be useful on next season’s team. By shipping out Anthony’s $27.9 million salary and taking back less in return, the franchise will save a huge fee while losing a player who didn’t fit well anyway.
Schroder, 24, has three years and $46.5 million remaining on his contract. The German guard averaged 19.4 points, 6.2 assists and 3.1 rebounds in 67 games with the Hawks last season. Muscala, 27, averaged 7.6 points and 4.3 rebounds in 53 games last season.
For the Hawks, this deal allows them to get out of Schroder’s contract and commit to Trae Young at point guard while adding a possible future first-rounder. The team moved down from No. 3 to No. 5 while drafting Young, passing on Luka Doncic and Jaren Jackson Jr. in the process, so there’s little doubt they’re high on the former Oklahoma star as the future of their backcourt.