NBA rumors: Carmelo Anthony traded to Hawks; Dennis Schroder to Thunder

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AP

NBA rumors: Carmelo Anthony traded to Hawks; Dennis Schroder to Thunder

The Thunder just got better.

Oklahoma City is trading Carmelo Anthony and a protected 2022 first-round draft pick to the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for Dennis Schroder and Miks Muscala, league sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Anthony will not suit up for the Hawks, however, as a buyout is part of the deal.

Schroder will make $15.5 million in each of the next three seasons.

The 24-year old point guard (he will turn 25 in September) averaged 19.4 points and 6.2 assists per game last season.

Muscala, who registered 7.6 points and 4.3 rebounds per contest last year, actually will not remain with the Thunder, either.

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

Breaking down Warriors' competitors in the new-look Western Conference

Breaking down Warriors' competitors in the new-look Western Conference

The Warriors, for the first time in franchise history, have won four consecutive Western Conference championships, which somewhat justifies their relative inertia toward making high-impact moves this offseason.

Remember, DeMarcus Cousins reached out to them.

The rest of the West, however, has been a hive of upheaval, not all of it logical. Nothing over the past couple weeks has been more riveting than watching those chasing the defending champs.

Here are some of the key changes, with assessments, for five retooling challengers hoping to make a deep playoff run:

ROCKETS: After earning the overall No. 1 seed by finishing with the best record in the NBA last season, the Rockers have spent the first 32 days of the offseason tinkering with the roster.

Their best wing defender, Trevor Ariza, is gone, off to the Suns after four years in the starting lineup. Also gone is key reserve Luc Mbah a Moute, their No. 2 wing defender -- and someone capable of guarding some centers. He’s now a Clipper.

The Rockets did, however, retain Chris Paul, overlooking his injury history to sign him to a max deal. They re-signed Gerald Green, who is as inconsistent as he is electrifying. They added in Michael Carter-Williams an awful shooter they hope can be an effective wing defender.

Better or worse: Worse, considerably so if Clint Capela doesn’t return.

THUNDER: Oklahoma City was starting to find its rhythm when elite wing defender Andre Roberson sustained a season-ending knee injury on Jan 27. Still, OKC rallied well enough to earn a No. 4 seed.

To the surprise of many, they were able to re-sign Paul George. They also brought back key reserve Jerami Grant. In addition, they’re bringing in free agent Nerlens Noel, a terrific rim protector, if engaged, behind big Steven Adams.

Yet the most important factors for the Thunder may be the futures of Carmelo Anthony and Andre Roberson. They’d like to unload Melo, whose All-Star ability is gone. His departure would amount to addition by subtraction. Roberson is a crucial asset. His absence stung, as OKC’s defense dropped from top-5 to ordinary.

Better or worse: Better, if Roberson meets his timetable and is ready for opening night.

PELICANS: Thanks to a sizzling second half by Anthony Davis, the Pelicans finished with the No. 6 seed and proceeded to demolish Portland in a first-round sweep.

New Orleans has replaced Cousins with Lakers free agent big man Julius Randle, who was recruited by Davis and would seem to be a better fit for this fast-paced offense. They’ll also have sharpshooter Nikola Mirotic for a full season.

But losing Rajon Rondo, along with Cousins, should take some of the bite out of the offense. As a replacement, Elfrid Payton brings better scoring ability but lacks Rondo’s floor command.

Better or worse: Potentially better, as long as Jrue Holiday is healthy and productive.

BLAZERS: Behind guards Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum and a crew of mostly nondescript characters, Portland played itself into a No. 3 seed. It was surprising then and would be downright shocking if it were repeated in 2019.

To a team featuring two star guards, the Blazers added . . . more guards: Seth Curry and Nik Stauskas through free agency, and Gary Trent Jr. in the draft.

And while the Blazers have agreed to a new deal with center Jusuf Nurkic, they let rugged rebounder Ed Davis walk for an affordable $4.4 million from the Nets. Davis will be missed.

Better or worse: Worse, unless Nurkic brings his “A-plus-plus” game.

LAKERS: After finishing 11th in the West at 35-47 and missing the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season, the Lakers knew what they had to do. And they did it.

They underwent a major overhaul, bringing in veteran free agents Lance Stephenson, JaVale McGee, Rondo and a superstar named LeBron James. They also re-signed starting shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Fans are dancing on freeways in Hollywood.

Though James and Rondo might be a load for coach Luke Walton and his staff, the vets should complement youngsters Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and Lonzo Ball. Don’t be surprised if, at times, they miss Randle.

Better or worse: Better. They’ll make the playoffs, but don’t yet have enough proven shooters to be a championship contender.

The Warriors should add Carmelo Anthony for one reason only

The Warriors should add Carmelo Anthony for one reason only

Here’s how perverse I am, No. 31,806: I think the Golden State Warriors should make a run at Carmelo Anthony.
 
Not because they need him, because they don’t. Not because they can use him, because they realistically can’t. Not because he fits anything they do, because he absolutely does not.
 
But they should do it anyway, and only for one reason -- because it will make all the medias, social, antisocial and all medias inbetween, gnash their teeth and shake their fists in more convincingly impotent rage.
 
And at this point, that’s all that’s really left to entertain us before next June.
 
The Oklahoma City Thunder are leaving Anthony out on the front lawn, his pockets stuffed with $28 million in hot cash he richly earned even though he has increasingly played uninspiring with each passing year -- hey, a contract's a contract. He is of so little use to them that they are willing to do the penance of the luxury tax just to see the back of him.
 
And while there are rumors that the Houston Rockets will find a place for him to be essentially motionless, this is where the Warriors come in.
 
They should swoop in front of Houston general obsessive Daryl Morey, grab Anthony and announce, “We don’t really want him, we just know you did and we’d rather you be unhappy.”
 
I mean, the Warriors made their national heel turn when Kevin Durant had the temerity to exercise his free agent rights, and doubled down when they took the uni-legged DeMarcus Cousins as a rental. Now people are trying to figure out ways to stop them from being them despite having no actual reason save their own pouty faces.
 
But to grab Anthony would be the most gratuitous act yet, the middlest middle finger of them all – a spite signing done for the sole reason of making people turn purple.
 
Now before we go any further, I figure I’ll have to explain this to some of you. I don’t think the Warriors should have any interest in Carmelo Anthony as a player. As a fellow, he is by all accounts a grand guy, and you can never have enough of those, but as a player he is the living embodiment of the anti-Warrior. This should not happen, and it will not happen.
 
But if it did, it would be the most hilariously vindictive act ever, and would make the Warriors an actual villain as opposed to the straw villain they are now.
 
Durant was an eminently justifiable acquisition by any standard, and anyone who believes otherwise is clearly a simp. Cousins was an odd signing but one whose market was fairly threadbare and found the only place where he could lower the odds against ending his career as a potential big earner was by going to the champions and their no-fuss-no-muss environment.
 
Anthony, though, would be a signing designed only to infuriate the punditocracy for the sake of infuriating the punditocracy, and few groups deserve that more than them. The added joy of making Morey and Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta throw their hands up in exasperation would be a nice add-on, but mostly this would be a knee in the nethers of the Not-As-Smart-As-They-Think-They-Are (with a few noteworthy exceptions) crowd.
 
So that’s why the Warriors should sign Carmelo Anthony – just to do it and let the hate spray go where it goes. That is the new NBA, after all – killing time until the surrender flags come back down.