To save more than $100 million in salary and tax, the Oklahoma City Thunder are expected to part ways with Carmelo Anthony this summer. Though the Thunder haven’t officially waived Anthony, several NBA teams have already expressed interest in adding the 34-year-old small forward to their team.
Once he becomes an unrestricted free agent, Carmelo Anthony will be joining another NBA team who could compete for the NBA championship title next season. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Houston Rockets and the Miami Heat will be a “premium consideration” for the All-Star forward in free agency.
“The Rockets have lost Mbah a Moute, 31, and Trevor Ariza, and plan to ramp up a pursuit of Carmelo Anthony once he becomes available after a trade and buyout, or waive and stretch, with Oklahoma City, league sources told ESPN. The Thunder could waive-and-stretch Anthony’s $27.9 million salary — saving the franchise $107 million in salary and tax — within the next seven to 10 days should they be unable to find a trade, league sources said. The Rockets will be a premium consideration for Anthony — along with the Miami Heat, league sources said.”
When the rumors about Anthony’s departure in Oklahoma City spread, Chris Paul urged the Rockets to pursue Melo. Last summer, when the Rockets traded for Paul, he also tried to convince Houston to trade for Anthony. Unfortunately, the Rockets didn’t have enough interesting trade assets to persuade the New York Knicks to make a deal.
The Rockets have more reasons to go after Carmelo Anthony right now. They just lost two of their wingmen, Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute, in free agency. Both forwards have played a huge role in the Rockets’ success in the 2017-18 NBA season. Anthony may not completely fill the hole they left on the defense end, but he will undeniably be an improvement on the offensive end of the floor.
Meanwhile, Anthony’s another option, the Miami Heat is in dire need of additional star power to become a relevant team in the Eastern Conference once again. However, in order to convince the veteran small forward to sign with their team, the Heat may first need to consider bringing back Anthony’s close pal and member of the famous Banana Boat Crew, Dwyane Wade. Since the 2017-18 NBA season ended, Wade is yet to address his NBA future, but he said that he will only consider playing again for the Heat. Aside from the Heat and the Rockets, another NBA team who is expected to express interest once Carmelo Anthony becomes an unrestricted free agent is the Los Angeles Lakers where Anthony could team up with LeBron James.