Earlier this summer, Carmelo Anthony did what everyone expected and opted in to the final year of his $27.9 million contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder. However, it appears he will not be suiting up for the Thunder when the upcoming season rolls around. According to a report from Adrian Wojnarowski, Anthony and the Thunder are working together to part ways this summer. Via ESPN:
The massive financial implications of Anthony opting into his $27.9 million contract for the 2018-19 season -- coupled with a mutual understanding that his scaled back role isn't what he had signed up for to play with Oklahoma City -- have dictated that the two sides will part ways sometime this summer, league sources told ESPN.
Anthony's agent, Leon Rose of CAA Sports, has a strong relationship and history with Thunder general manager Sam Presti, and they'll work together on Anthony's exit through trade, the NBA's stretch provision, or a combined buyout and stretch, league sources said.
There are many reasons for both the Thunder and Anthony to mutually agree to this split. For one, Anthony opting in to the final year of his deal -- as he should have done, to be clear -- puts a huge financial strain on the Thunder. As it currently stands, this Thunder roster would cost over $300M between salary and luxury tax bills. Buying out or trading Anthony could end up saving the Thunder over $100M.
Considering how much Anthony struggled in his first season with the Thunder -- he averaged just 16.2 points on 40.4 percent shooting, each of which were career-lows -- it's obvious why OKC would want to move on. It just makes too much sense to not try and save that staggering amount of money by getting rid of a player who isn't very good anymore.
In fact, according to SportsLine data scientist Stephen Oh, moving on from Anthony actually increases the Thunder's chances of making the playoffs.
As for Anthony, it makes sense because it was clear his role was going to be diminished, and he wasn't going to be thrilled with that. Now, he still gets his money, but gets to work together with the Thunder to get to a new situation that could suit him better. Perhaps a move to the Lakers to play with his friend LeBron is in store? The Rockets -- where Anthony could play with another friend in Chris Paul -- are also reportedly interested. We will see.