For the second time in two seasons, Carmelo Anthony has been traded.
A year after acquiring the 10-time All-Star from the Knicks, Oklahoma City has agreed to a three-team deal that will send Anthony and his $27.9 million salary to Atlanta, ESPN first reported Thursday night.
The trade also sent Justin Anderson and a 2022 protected Thunder first-round pick to the Hawks, Dennis Schröder and Timothe Luwawu Cabarrot to the Thunder and Mike Muscala to the 76ers.
The Hawks are expected to buy out Anthony’s contract, which will make him an unrestricted free agent. The Rockets — and Anthony’s former coach Mike D’Antoni with the Knicks — are said to frontrunners to sign him in free agency. The Miami Heat also reportedly have an interest.
Anthony, 34, has been the focal point of the offense for most of his career and is ranked 19th in NBA history with 25,417 points. It was thought that his addition would form a Big 3 with Russell Westbrook and Paul George. Instead, he averaged a career-low 16.2 points per game last season while struggling to adjust to the fact that he was being asked to be more of a catch-and-shoot scorer.
His playing time decreased in the postseason. In Game 6 of the Thunder’s playoff series against the Jazz, he played only 26 minutes, including three in the fourth quarter. Afterward he let it be known he wasn’t happy in his new role, adding that coming off the bench was “out of the question.”
According to ESPN, the trade allows Oklahoma City to save $62 million in luxury tax and $73 million altogether, ESPN reported, and it adds a productive player in Schröder.
After acquiring Jeremy Lin from the Nets last week and trading up to select Oklahoma star Trae Young in the draft, Atlanta was looking to move Schröder, who has three years and $46.5 million left on his contract. The 24-year-old German guard is coming off his best of five NBA seasons, averaging 19.4 points, 6.2 assists and 3.1 rebounds in 67 games with the Hawks last season.
In other NBA news Thursday, the Celtics signed restricted free-agent guard Marcus Smart to a four-year contract extension reported to be worth $52 million.