Carmelo Anthony

Source: Sixers will acquire Mike Muscala, send away Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Justin Anderson in 3-team trade

Source: Sixers will acquire Mike Muscala, send away Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Justin Anderson in 3-team trade

The Sixers were involved in a trade with Carmelo Anthony.

Exhale, Sixers fans, Anthony is not coming here. Instead, Anthony is being shipped to the Hawks — who will likely waive the veteran forward — with a 2022 protected first-round pick for point guard Dennis Schroder, according to a report Thursday by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The Sixers in turn will send Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot to the Thunder and Justin Anderson to the Hawks to acquire Atlanta’s Mike Muscala, a source confirmed to NBC Sports Philadelphia's John Clark.

Yahoo! Sports' Shams Charania first reported the Sixers' side of the deal.

The move makes sense for the Sixers on a couple fronts. After missing out on Serbian forward Nemanja Bjelica, who reportedly agreed to a deal with the team and then backed out, Brett Brown gets a player with a similar skill set in Muscala. The former Bucknell star has great size (6-foot-11, 240 pounds) and the ability to shoot (37.8 percent from three for his career).

It also makes sense from a roster standpoint. The team had a bit of a logjam on the wing and had 16 players for 15 roster spots. By losing two players and getting only one back, the Sixers are now at 15 players under contract. That also includes Jerryd Bayless, who will likely be bought out or stretched, but does not include 2017 second-round pick Jonah Bolden or 2018 second-round pick Shake Milton.

Muscala had a career year for the lowly Hawks. He averaged 7.6 points and 4.3 rebounds in 20 minutes a game — all career marks. He also hit 37.1 percent of his threes on 3.2 attempts. A second-round pick by the Mavericks in 2013, Muscala has spent all five of his NBA seasons in Atlanta.

More on the Sixers

Sixers reportedly have interest in Carmelo Anthony

melo-ben-joel-2.jpg
USA Today Images

Sixers reportedly have interest in Carmelo Anthony

There was a time when Carmelo Anthony was great at basketball.

Coming off an NCAA title with Syracuse, Anthony was drafted third overall by the Nuggets and went on to score at least 20 points a game in 13 straight seasons.

That was until last year, when he averaged 16.2 points a game playing third fiddle to Russell Westbrook and Paul George with the Thunder. He shot just 40 percent from the field and 35 percent from three (6.1 attempts a game). 

So why on earth would the Sixers — as was reported by The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor — be interested in the 34-year-old forward?

That’s a great question. One I don’t really have an answer to.

First of all, the Sixers’ roster is pretty much set. In fact, they have too many players currently signed for the 2018-19 season. They also have virtually no cap space, meaning 'Melo would have to sign for the minimum. This is the same dude that literally laughed when he was asked if he’d be willing to come off the bench in Oklahoma City. Now he’s going to be willing to take the vet minimum to come here? 

Secondly, the Rockets are without a doubt the most logical destination (Banana Boat Team!). They’re also tight on cap space, but if you’re Anthony, Houston represents a better scenario if he’s interested in winning. It already has James Harden and Chris Paul and took the defending champs to seven games in the Western Conference Finals. The signing of 'Melo wouldn’t make the Sixers favorites to win the East, so why not join up with your old buddy Paul and try to take down the Warriors?

Then there’s fit. At this point in his career, Anthony is a stretch four and no longer a wing. So where does he fit in with Dario Saric, and the recently-acquired Wilson Chandler and Nemanja Bjelica? As mentioned earlier, Anthony is coming off the least efficient — and the worst shooting — season of his career. How much would he add to the team’s core of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons?

And 'Melo doesn’t exactly seem like the mentoring type. He seems like the kind of guy that would be more concerned about his minutes and shots than about taking Markelle Fultz under his wing. I could be wrong and maybe 'Melo does just that, relating to Fultz about the pressure of being a high pick. I just don’t see it.

With all that said, there’s value in taking a shot on a former NBA scoring champ. He can create his own shot, something the Sixers seriously lack. And maybe he would play nice and help some of the team’s young pieces take their game to the next level. Would it be worth kicking the tires on? Possibly. 

But in the end, the cons seem to strongly outweigh the pros. The Sixers need more scoring, but they’re better served betting on Fultz to make a leap in Year 2 and for Embiid and Simmons to take their game to another level.

Let 'Melo stay out West and Trust the Process.

More on the Sixers

More Sixers vs. Thunder, please

More Sixers vs. Thunder, please

BOX SCORE

OKLAHOMA CITY — The season series between the Sixers and Thunder isn’t really over, is it?

These teams could play each other 20 more times and each game would be one to watch.

What started in Philadelphia on Dec. 15 as a triple-overtime thriller carried over to Oklahoma City Sunday night as a high-intensity battle that resulted in a 122-112 win for the Thunder on their home court (see observations).

While the Sixers and Thunder will not face off again until next season, these two contests were just a glimpse into what already has the making of a must-see matchup. 

“After a little talk after game one, leading into this game, kind of was looking forward to it,” Russell Westbrook (37 points, 14 assists, nine rebounds) said. “But, you know, Oklahoma City, 2-0.” 

Their first meeting of the season at the Wells Fargo Center wrapped up with a preview of what was to come Sunday night. During the Thunder’s 119-117 victory, Joel Embiid waved goodbye when Steven Adams fouled out. That didn’t set well with Westbrook, who sent his own message to Embiid after the buzzer.

“He told me to go home,” Embiid said that night. “And this is my home and I ain’t going nowhere.”

When the Sixers traveled to the Thunder’s home, the Thunder put their mark on the game with a second-half push and improved to 19-7 at Chesapeake Energy Arena. They extended their current winning streak to eight games and recorded their 18th straight win over the Sixers dating back to 2008. 

“You come into this building and you know with the roster that they have that you are going to be in for a fist fight,” Brett Brown said. “They are a big team. They are a physical team. You roll out three gold medalists and All-Stars and you sort of have Steven Adams at the center of it all, you know you are in for a long night.”

It was clear from the start both teams hadn’t forgotten their first battle. There were hard fouls, players hitting the floor and aggressive drives to the basket. The Sixers’ and Thunder’s combined 106 points in the paint was reflective of the jam-heavy ballgame. Ben Simmons, Adams and Westbrook rank in the league’s top 10 in points in that area. 

“They are so many athletes,” Embiid (27 points, 10 rebounds) said. “There was a lot of dunks. It’s just a show. It’s fun to watch, it’s fun to be in. But I wish we would have had the win, but these games are fun.”

Entertaining with a strong undertone of fast-paced intensity. The similar styles of play fueled this up-and-down contest. Paul George (31 points) considers the Sixers and Thunder’s styles to “mirror” one another. 

Then there’s the shared desire to win.

“I thought the atmosphere in Philly was a great atmosphere to be a part of and go on the road and play that game. That was our first time enjoying ‘The Process,’” Carmelo Anthony (16 points) said. “Tonight was just, we knew it would be a fun, physical game. Those guys, they just play hard for the full 48 minutes regardless of what’s going on out there. I think Coach (Brett) Brown does a great job keeping those guys engaged throughout the course of the game.”

The teams could look different next season, with no guarantees of trades and moves in free agency, especially Paul George. But both Embiid and Westbrook are locked in for long-term deals, creating the foundation for an Eastern-Western Conference showdown that isn’t going away anytime soon.