If the latest NBA rumors are to be believed, Carmelo Anthony is headed to the Atlanta Hawks after one season with the Oklahoma City Thunder. However, the trade is expected to be a quick stopover en route to Anthony’s free agency, as “Melo” is still likely to join the Houston Rockets after the Hawks waive him.
The prospective trade was first reported by ESPN‘s Adrian Wojnarowski, who wrote that the Thunder agreed to trade Anthony and a protected 2022 first-round draft pick to the Hawks for point guard Dennis Schroder and big man Mike Muscala. Once the trade is finalized, the supposed plan is for the Hawks to waive Anthony, which would allow him to become a free agent and join the “team of his choice.” Just as rumored since word first spread of Anthony possibly leaving the Thunder, the 34-year-old, 10-time All-Star small forward is expected to sign with the Houston Rockets, Wojnarowski added.
At the moment, there are a few reports that could back up the rumors of Carmelo Anthony signing with the Houston Rockets this summer. Earlier this week, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer proposed that Houston might want to trade forward Ryan Anderson to the Sacramento Kings, who recently freed up some salary cap space of their own by trading Garrett Temple to the Memphis Grizzlies for Ben McLemore. Such a “salary dump” maneuver would give the Rockets the financial wiggle room they need to sign Anthony, though the team might have to send a first-round draft pick to Sacramento to entice them to take on Anderson’s contract.
ESPN story on the impact of Oklahoma City's Carmelo Anthony trade with Atlanta, including 'Melo's future, Dennis Schroder's playmaking role and cost savings. https://t.co/QeiGNb2y7B— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 19, 2018
With the Rockets’ All-Star backcourt of James Harden and Chris Paul in place and the team still hoping to sign restricted free agent center Clint Capela to a new deal, Houston currently has a need at small forward that Carmelo Anthony can fill. As the Inquisitr noted earlier on Thursday, the Rockets lost small forwards Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute to the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Clippers respectively in free agency, which would likely allow Anthony to play a key role for the team. Anthony averaged a career-low 16.2 points per game in the 2017-18 season and was expected to take on a reduced role with the Thunder for the 2018-19 season, according to the Sporting News.
Similar to how the Atlanta Hawks might waive Carmelo Anthony so he could sign with the Houston Rockets, the Oklahoma City Thunder are also expected to send Mike Muscala elsewhere, as league sources told Wojnarowski that the veteran forward/center will likely be traded by the Thunder to the Philadelphia 76ers for shooting guard Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot.