Carmelo Anthony Traded to the Hawks, Expected to be Waived

Carmelo Anthony with USA Basketball team in 2016
Carmelo Anthony with USA Basketball team in 2016. Photo by Heuler Andrey/AGIF/REX/Shutterstock

Carmelo Anthony will soon be officially out of Oklahoma City. According to various NBA insiders, including ESPN‘s Adrian Worjanowski, OKC Thunder agreed to trade Anthony alongside 2022 first round pick to Atlanta Hawks. In exchange, the Thunder will get guard Dennis Schroder and forward Mike Muscala. But wait, this isn’t all.

Hawks will waive Anthony, giving him a check for $27.9 million not to play for them, and allowing him to sign with another team. Reportedly, the Houston Rockets and Miami Heat are among the front-runners for his signature.

On the other side, Thunder’s general manager Sam Presti will unload Mike Muscala to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot.

So, what was the motivation for the teams to make this trade?

The biggest takeaway from this trade is that Oklahoma City Thunder just avoided paying $300 million payroll, which they would pay in case Anthony stayed with the team. Thunder saved $62 million in taxes and added a talented point guard in Dennis Schroder, who can provide playmaking while Russell Westbrook is on the bench. OKC could have saved more money if they used the waive-and-stretch provision on Anthony’s contract but opted to seek a trade that would improve their roster.

Atlanta Hawks got a first-round pick from this deal and also moved Schroder, who publicly expressed a desire to play for a contender. They will also have free salary cap space next season, available to absorb contracts for picks or make a big free-agent signing.

Finally, Melo also got something out of this deal. He leaves OKC after a disappointing season, but also get all of his money. On top of that, he has an opportunity to choose a team he wants to play for. This might be one of those rare trades where it’s a win-win situation for all parties involved.