The former All-Star of the Knicks and OKC is getting closer and closer to the farewell, after the modest season of No. 7 with the Thunder jersey. A technical and above all economic choice, which allows the Westbrook&George team to avoid paying a lot of luxury tax
The news had already been in the air for a few days, after the multi-million dollar renewal of Paul George (unexpected, but welcomed with great joy), Raymond Felton's minimum wage renewal and Jerami Grant's well-deserved confirmation had splashed the Thunder cap well above the total of $300 million. Too many not to give an overrun to what is expensive and unproductive and still present in the OKC roster. That's why Carmelo Anthony's choice to exercise his contract option and collect 27.9 million next season was seen by the Thunder management as too heavy a stone to drag economically for next year, taking into account the mediocre performance provided in the last season by an 11.8 point average Anthony to the playoffs (with 37% from the field and 21% from the arc).
Everyone expected a step forward that did not come, with the technical direction of the team increasingly deputed to the Westbrook-George-Adams trio, while complaints about his marginal role on the pitch continued seamlessly. As a team, and especially on the payroll, there isn't much room for the former All-Star of the Knicks. For all these reasons, what ESPN has reported is only a direct consequence of a reasoning already put in advance by many: the Thunder and Anthony staff are working on the best solution to say goodbye without displeasing anyone. The n.7, in fact, wants to solve as soon as possible, so as to become an appetizing pawn on the market and look for a new accommodation in a short time (Lakers and Rockets are very interested in the developments of the story). Anthony's agent, Leon Rose, a long-time friend and very close to Thunder Sam Presti's GM, is considering the various options with the management of OKC.
On the plate, in fact, there is either the possibility to spread Anthony's contract, or alternatively to add to this also the buyout that would immediately release the player on the market, making him a free agent who can go in search of a new agreement (as happened in the case of Dwight Howard in recent hours).
Thunder, an inevitable choice from the economic point of view
In addition to the technical reasons, however, OKC has been forced in recent hours to pull the balance and give up a player like Anthony after exceeding in recent hours the record figure of 300 million dollars in wages and taxes. The Thunder, in fact, are currently close to 160 million as the sum of contracts signed, more than 36 million over the threshold that forces the teams to pay a dollar of penalty for each of the overspends. Added to this is the fact that the Thunder were already beyond the limit in three of the last four seasons, thus falling into the case that provides for the intervention of the repeater tax, which makes the penalties even harsher. In substance, therefore, the total amount of taxes to be paid exceeds 150 million dollars, bringing the total account to 311 at the moment.
Abandoning Carmelo Anthony, on the other hand, would drastically (and for the better) change the Thunder scenario, saving at least 90 million dollars. Spread out its contract over three years would, in fact, allow OKC to charge only 9.3 million for its contract, reducing the total amount of fees to be paid from 150 to 60 million. This figure rises to a total of 107 million saved if the account is taken of the extension of the contractual burden signed with Anthony. A necessary move to make the Thunder's accounts breathe and that will make free on the market a great piece as the All-Star Knicks. A divorce that is necessary and that both sides hope will be successful.