As the Oklahoma City Thunder navigate a historic $310 million payroll and luxury tax bill, the franchise’s front office is working through scenarios that will culminate in the inevitable this summer: an ending to the brief Carmelo Anthony partnership, which could deliver the Thunder over $100 million in cost savings.
The massive financial implications of Anthony opting into his $27.9 million contract for the 2018-19 season — coupled with a mutual understanding that his scaled-back role with the Thunder isn’t what he had signed up for — have dictated that the two sides will part ways sometime this summer, league sources told ESPN.
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Anthony’s agent, Leon Rose of CAA Sports, has a strong relationship and history with Thunder general manager Sam Presti, and they’ll work together on Anthony’s exit through a trade, the NBA’s stretch provision or a combined buyout and stretch, league sources said.
Anthony, a 10-time NBA All-Star and three-time Olympic gold medalist, would be pursued vigorously among contenders on the free-agent market. The Houston Rockets, Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers are among multiple teams expected to express interest in Anthony, sources tell ESPN.
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