The Carmelo Anthony era is officially over in Oklahoma City, as the Thunder has traded the 10-time All-Star and a lottery-protected first-round pick in 2022 to the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for point guard Dennis Schröder. As part of a three-team deal that also involves the Philadelphia 76ers, Atlanta’s Mike Muscala is headed to Philadelphia, Justin Anderson of the Sixers is being moved to the Hawks, with Philly’s Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot landing in Oklahoma City.
For the sake of clarity:
A few things of note here:Thunder Tax Savings
By moving Carmelo Anthony to the Hawks (where he will be bought out), the Thunder saves itself nearly $100 million in tax dollars according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Although Schröder is under contract through the 2020-21 season — making $15.5 million in each of the next three seasons — Oklahoma City still walks away with a nice reduction in its tax bill. And like Wojnarowski mentions above, he’s an asset in Presti’s pocket — one far more talented than what was figured to be available to the Thunder in any sort of Melo deal or free agency.
As for Melo, he will reportedly receive his full $27.8 million in the buyout with Atlanta and will soon hit the open market. He’s expected to join Chris Paul and James Harden in Houston, although this will be interesting to watch develop. The Heat, Lakers, and others have been tossed around, as well.
The 24-year-old point guard averaged 19.4 points and 6.2 assists in 67 appearances for Atlanta last season, shooting 43.6 percent from the floor and 29 percent from downtown. He had grown unhappy playing for the rebuilding Hawks and made it clear he wanted out of town. Despite some character concerns and the unknown variable of how he would respond to a bench role, Wojnarowski is reporting that “Sam Presti and coach Billy Donovan were given permission to talk with Schröder, and they’re enthusiastic about the partnership. OKC wants more speed, another ball handler.”
OK, I’m listening.
While the fit isn’t great on paper — he’s a poor three-point shooter and carried a 30.4 percent usage rate last season in Atlanta — Schröder is an immediate upgrade over Raymond Felton and a guy that will provide a scoring punch off the bench for Donovan. If he buys into a role as the Thunder’s presumed sixth man, he will impact the team in a way that has been missing since Reggie Jackson was shipped to Detroit.
Schröder’s 2017-18 highlights:
Luwawu-Cabarrot was selected 24th overall by the Sixers in 2016 and has played sparingly in his first two seasons in the league. He averaged 5.8 points per game in 52 appearances in Philadelphia last season, shooting just 37.5 percent from the field and 33.5 percent from downtown. He’s raw, unpolished, athletic, and can’t really shoot thus far — the perfect prospect in the eyes of Sam Presti. I imagine he’ll become the newest 3-&-D project with Josh Huestis apparently out of the equation.
Some highlights from last season:
With the Thunder and Melo being long past the point of reconciliation, nabbing Schröder and saving on the tax bill is a big win in the short term and potentially longer. At the very worst, he becomes a tradeable asset. In the best-case scenario, he adds a new dimension to the Thunder’s rotation as a scorer and playmaker — one that is under contract for each of the next three seasons.
Although you never want to see your team sending out future first-round draft picks, the lottery protection helps minimize the potential losses there. All things considered, this move immediately strengthens the Thunder and allows Melo to move on without losing a dime. Everybody wins.