Sam Presti bookended offseason 17’ with two surprise moves, the latter of which netted disillusioned former New York star Carmelo Anthony. From June 30 through the second day of Autumn OKC’s braintrust collected Paul George, Patrick Patterson, Raymond Felton, and Anthony as pieces for a championship-or-bust effort necessitated by Russell Westbrook and George’s uncertain contractual futures.
To gain 33-year-old Anthony, Oklahoma City parted ways with fan-favorite Enes Kanter, sharpshooter Doug McDermott, and Chicago’s 2018 second-round pick. A pillar in the Thunder community, Kanter posted this heartfelt video following his trade to New York:
Kanter, and his 24.3 PPG Per36 minutes, along with a gregarious and genuine personality, will be missed by OKC fans and team personnel. However, Oklahoma City moves forward with an All-Star trio which combined to average 77 points-per-contest last season.
Carmelo Anthony, Russell Westbrook and Paul George have 20 combined All-Star appearances, which is more than some other notable NBA trios. pic.twitter.com/Gtnu0DWGY4— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 23, 2017
Amid personal and professional turmoil, Anthony made a tenth-consecutive All-Star appearance in 16-17’. The future Hall-of-Famer added 22.4 PPG as his strained relationship with former Knicks President Phil Jackson publicly eroded.
While losses mounted, for years Jackson chided Anthony’s ball-dominant style of play, and in return Anthony demanded a trade. Those demands were recently met by Presti as Carmelo expanded his list of acceptable “trade-clause-wave-worthy” teams to include Oklahoma City.
Now, palpable buzz surrounds a rebuilt Thunder unit which rosters the league’s reigning MVP. Naturally, some envision the Thunder as Golden State’s harshest opposition. However, with three iso-driven natural scorers, questions of fit and function will manifest as regular-season play begins in under a month.
Though, 28 other teams would gladly welcome such question marks.
Following confirmed reports of his intent to sign with OKC, a weird situation unfolded as slumping floor-general Burke instead chose a free-agency return.
Now the Thunder has non-guaranteed incumbent Semaj Christon and rookie free-agent camp invite Bryce Alford set to battle for a possible roster spot as the team’s third point guard. This angle should provide a bit of training camp intrigue.
Acquired Feb 19, 2015, Kanter overpowered low-post defenders while finessing his way into the collective heart of Thunder Nation. In 180 OKC Thunder outings, the 25-year-old averaged 14.2 ppg, 8 rpg, (3.2 offensive), and shot 56% in 22.6 minutes per.
Now Enes is off to the Big Apple. But before he goes...
Enes Kanter and Steven Adams embrace in a hug after Enes was traded. Stache bros 4 life pic.twitter.com/3oYbU6L1bq— Damon Lane (@KOCOdamonlane) September 24, 2017
Viva La Stache Bros!