Per Woj, the Carmelo Anthony era in OKC has reached a merciful end, as the Thunder have agreed to trade Melo to the Hawks in exchange for Dennis Schroder and Mike Muscala.
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
Muscala will actually be headed to the 76ers, with Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot headed to OKC in his place. The 2022 pick is lottery protected, so if the wheels have fallen off in OKC by then, they can head into a rebuild unencumbered. Schroder, meanwhile, will in fact suit up for the Thunder, and they’re “enthusiastic” about the fit.
Schroder is a mixed bag. There’s a reason the Hawks were looking to dump him in this trade- he’s overpaid, and he’s not their starting Point Guard of the future, or anyone else’s. But he’s a player with some real skills. While he’s a lead guard, he and Jeff Teague found some success playing together in dual guard sets for the Hawks when they were teammates. The fit next to Russell Westbrook is tough — Schroder is a career 32% 3 point shooter, and he and Russ are both better with the ball in their hands. But it would give Russ a chance to play off the ball a bit and share more playmaking duties. On the second unit, Schroder will be an upgrade over Ray Felton as the lead ball handler when Russ rests. Luwawu-Cabbarot, meanwhile, is nothing special, but he’s young and on a cheap deal, and maybe he turns into something more in OKC.
The real rationale for this trade is dollars and cents- OKC will save something like $70 million in luxury tax payments by switching Melo’s nearly $30 million salary for Schroder’s $15.5 million. Schroder's deal is longer- he’s on the books for 3 more years- but OKC was capped out for the foreseeable future anyways. Had Melo simply been released and stretched, OKC would have paid $9 million a year for the next 3 years to someone who was no longer on the team. Instead, they’ll pay about $15 million a year for Schroder who, for his faults, has the potential to at least be a real contributor to the team’s 2nd unit.
The Hawks, meanwhile, plan to waive Melo immediately, leaving him free to join a new team- likely the Houston Rockets.
OKC saves a ton of money in luxury tax payments and gets someone who can at least play. The Hawks get off a long term deal and remove someone who was ahead of Trae Young on the depth chart. Melo gets to #StayMe7o somewhere else without giving up a penny in a buyout deal. Everybody wins!
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