Carmelo Anthony Traded

A little more than 24 hours after the trade that everyone was waiting for, the next NBA offseason fell with the long-expected trade of Oklahoma City player Carmelo Anthony.
In a three team trade, here’s what the respective teams receive:
Carmelo Anthony (from OKC)
Justin Anderson (from Philadelphia)
2022 first-round pick (from OKC, lottery protected)
Dennis Schroder (from Atlanta)
Timothe Luwawu-Cabarott (from Philadelphia)
Mike Muscala (from Atlanta)
Anthony was looking for a new home last season after the New York Knicks had soured on him, despite seven straight All-Star Game appearances for the team. His lone season in Oklahoma City was probably his worst statistically, though he did return to the playoffs – where the Thunder lost to the Utah Jazz in the first round – for the first time since the 2012-13 season. 
That 2012-13 season was also the only time that Anthony finished in the top five of MVP voting, finishing third behind LeBron James and Kevin Durant. Usually known as a high volume scorer, though perhaps not as efficient as some of his contemporaries, the 2017-18 season also saw his lowest scoring output ever (down to 16.2 points a game) as he failed to integrate fully with alpha dog (and former MVP) Russell Westbrook and and fiddle Paul George on a revamped Oklahoma City team. Even after the surprising resigning of Paul George this offseason, Anthony’s time in OKC was coming to an end, with rumors of a potential buyout leading the news ahead of the trade.
The fact that Oklahoma City was able to get real assets for a player they were probably going to buyout says something about the ability of Sam Presti, the Thunder GM. Trading Anthony saves the Thunder nearly $80 million of what was expected to be one of the most expensive rosters ever due to penalties from the NBA’s luxury tax. They could have saved more by buying him out and using the stretch provision, but they also would have had to find players to round out the roster. Regardless of your opinion about the players they received in the trade, it’s better than letting Anthony go for nothing but the cash savings, especially since Westbrook will continue to be a high usage player regardless of the players around him.
Anthony is still expected to negotiate a buyout from the Atlanta Hawks, and rumors are pointing him to signing with the Houston Rockets, the team that won the most games last season, as well as forcing the Warriors to seven games in the Western Conference Finals (and probably would have won if Chris Paul hadn’t pulled a hamstring at the end of Game 5 after securing a 3-2 series lead). The fit with Houston might be awkward, and Anthony will have to adapt to being the third option on some occasions, so I don’t see how adding Anthony, especially after the Rockets lost their defensive wings in Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute, will help the Rockets beat the Warriors next season.
The other players in the trade aren’t scrubs, and definitely have longer careers ahead of them than Anthony at this point. Schroder was a mid first-round pick of the Hawks back in 2013 and last season was his first on the post-rookie extension he signed in 2016. He became redundant in Atlanta after the Hawks drafted Trae Young this summer, so they probably didn’t want to pay their back-up point guard $15.5M a year for the next three years. Luwawu-Cabarrot was a late first-round pick in the 2016 draft and should find some playing time as a wing defender while he continues to refine his shot.
The Hawks should be happy with Justin Anderson, a potential “3-and-D” wing that the league craves these days. They also received a seemingly valuable 2022 first round pick, and though it is lottery protected, it should give them another asset for a few years down the road when they should be able to compete again after undergoing a rebuild that started last season. For the 76ers, they seemed to get the worst of this deal, though the players they gave up were barely playing for them as it is and Mike Muscala will fill a valuable spot off their bench as a stretch-four, especially after the signing of Nemanja Bjelica to fill the role didn’t end up working out so well.
All in all, the winner of the trade is probably the Thunder for getting anything for Anthony when it was obvious that he wanted to leave. Like the Spurs in the Kawhi Leonard trade, they are probably thrilled that they didn’t have to take a discontented player to training camp and into the season, and can now focus on integrating the new players before the season starts.
Now we just wait for Anthony’s inevitable signing with the Rockets and all the hot takes that will come out from that, with mentions of banana boats and “only one ball” that are sure to be included.
Until next time…

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