Report: Thunder trading Carmelo Anthony, first-rounder to Hawks for Dennis Schroder
The Thunder were going to cut loose Carmelo Anthony.
The Hawks were determined to trade Dennis Schroder.
The 76ers needed a stretch four after Nemanja Bjelica backed out of his deal.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Oklahoma City has agreed to trade Carmelo Anthony and a protected 2022 first-round pick to Atlanta for point guard Dennis Schroder and Mike Muscala, league sources tell ESPN. Anthony will be waived, and he will join team of his choice. Rockets are frontrunner.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 19, 2018
Sources: Muscala ($5M) is likely headed for a third team in near future. OKC GM Sam Presti and coach Billy Donovan were given permission to talk with Schroder, and they're enthusiastic about partnership. OKC wants more speed, another ball handler. https://t.co/VibPPXzlBW— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 19, 2018
Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
It's a three team trade. Muscala will got to Philly. Justin Anderson will come to Hawks. Carmelo will be bought out. Won't be a Hawk.— Chris Vivlamore (@CVivlamoreAJC) July 19, 2018
Royce Young of ESPN:
The pick the Thunder are sending the Hawks is 2022 lottery protected first rounder (1-14). If it doesn’t convey, it’ll become two second rounders.— Royce Young (@royceyoung) July 19, 2018
The Thunder save money in this trade next year by going from Anthony to Schroder. But they could have saved far more simply by stretching Anthony themselves.
Stretching Anthony would have meant a cap hit of $9,309,380 each of the next three seasons. Instead, Oklahoma City will pay Schroder $15.5 million each of the next three seasons.
Why increase that financial burden?
Schroder is an intriguing backup to Russell Westbrook and just 24. Even if he’s overpaid and facing the prospect of felony battery charge, he can play. Anthony’s stretched cap hit can’t. Raymond Felton provided steady backup-point guard minutes last season and re-signed, but he’s 34. Oklahoma City can’t rely on him forever.
The Thunder might have viewed Schroder as worth the difference between his salary and Anthony’s stretched cap hit, and there’s some logic to that. But if Oklahoma City tries to flip Schroder down the road, potential trade partners will evaluate his full salary.
Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot isn’t nothing, either. The 23-year-old former first-rounder is a project with 3-and-D potential.
On the other hand, the Thunder also surrender a potential first-round pick in the deal. And with Westbrook, Paul George and Steven Adams locked into lucrative contracts, the upcoming season isn’t the only one Oklahoma City must worry about the repeater luxury tax. Schroder’s future salary could become extremely burdensome.
In a pure basketball sense, this trade could make sense for the Thunder. Anthony didn’t fit, and Schroder brings more talent and has a clearer role. Luwawu-Cabarrot has upside. A lottery-protected pick could warrant going from Anthony to Schroder and Luwawu-Cabarrot, though that’s far from certainly worth it.
But I especially wonder about the long-term financial cost. Will Schroder’s salary the following couple years eventually lead ownership to cut costs and shed better players? If Clay Bennett’s willingness to pay extends beyond the following season, more power to him.
And more power to Anthony, who gets all his money and free agency. Expect him to sign with the Rockets once Atlanta waives him.
The Hawks – nowhere near the luxury tax, let alone the repeater tax – could handle waiving Anthony more easily than the Thunder could have. They get a nice draft pick for their trouble – and to unload Schroder.
Schroder was a leftover from the previous Atlanta regime, and Travis Schlenk is ready to build around Trae Young at point guard. Jeremy Lin is the stopgap veteran backup. There was no place for Schroder.
Justin Anderson only adds to the Hawks’ return. It might be getting late quick for the 24-year-old, but he’s strong and athletic. If he improves his shot, he could be a very helpful 3-and-D player. There’s such a premium on wings, it’s well worth betting on developing him – especially for a rebuilding team like Atlanta.
The 76ers have shifted into winning mode, and Mike Muscala should help. He’s a good 3-point shooter for a big and capable of defending inside and out. Philadelphia adds no long-term cost, as Muscala is entering the final year of his contract with a $5 million salary.
The 76ers also clear a roster spot in the 2-for-1 swap, which could lead to last year’s second-rounder, Jonah Bolden, signing.