According to Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports, Carmelo Anthony has informed the Oklahoma City Thunder that he is opting into the final year of his 5-year, $124 million contract he signed with the New York Knicks in 2014. He is due $27.9 million for the 2018-19 season.
“Anthony has informed the Thunder of his decision, league sources said, and the franchise has also expected him to opt into his deal since the season ended. Anthony faced a deadline Saturday to exercise his early termination option.
Anthony, a 10-time NBA All-Star, averaged a career-low 16.2 points along with 5.8 rebounds in playing and starting 78 games for the Thunder last season. Oklahoma City acquired Anthony in a trade with the New York Knicks on the eve of training camp in September. Anthony transitioned to a full-time role at power forward, attempted the fewest amount of shots in his career and spent most of the season adjusting to his role alongside Russell Westbrook and Paul George.”
While the Thunder would have likely preferred a different decision, this outcome has long been expected. Anthony couldn’t have dreamed of this sort of money on the open market, so it’s not difficult to put yourself in his position. The goal for Sam Presti and the Oklahoma City front office will now be to explore alternative ways of moving the disgruntled former All-Star — either through buyout or trade. There’s also the possibility that he returns to the Thunder and finishes out his contract before becoming a free agent next summer.
Should the Thunder re-sign Paul George in early July and make no progress on moving Anthony, the team will find itself soaring past the $123 luxury tax line. Per Erik Horne of The Oklahoman, “the Thunder would project to be $24 million over the line, and that’s before potentially re-signing free agents like Jerami Grant, Raymond Felton, Josh Huestis or Corey Brewer.”
Long story short — the discussion surrounding Anthony’s future doesn’t end with today’s news. Expect plenty more to come as the offseason progresses.