According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Carmelo Anthony has agreed to waive his no-trade clause and has begun meeting (with the Thunder’s permission) with teams interested in acquiring his services this summer. Per the report, he has already met with the Houston Rockets and Miami Heat in Las Vegas over the last few days.
“The Oklahoma City Thunder granted Carmelo Anthony permission to meet with prospective teams, including the Houston Rockets and Miami Heat, league sources told ESPN.
Anthony and his representatives met with Rockets and Heat officials at the site of the NBA Summer League in recent days, league sources told ESPN…
The Thunder are working on trade scenarios where Anthony, 34, would be moved as an expiring contract and be waived, becoming a free agent once his $27.9 million 2017-18 salary clears waivers. Oklahoma City needs Anthony’s permission to waive his no-trade clause, which he has done to facilitate his exit, league sources said.”
There you have it. Certainly sounds like there will be movement on this sooner rather than later, doesn’t it?
As Wojnarowski alludes to, the Thunder is most likely to find a trade that would send Anthony somewhere he would ultimately be waived, thus giving him the freedom to choose his preferred destination as a free agent on the open market. As our David Brandon mentioned on Twitter, teams like Atlanta, Chicago, and Sacramento have cap space available and could facilitate a deal without sending equal money back to Oklahoma City. The Thunder would likely need to part with draft picks and/or young assets to complete such a move, but it would achieve the goal of lowering the massive luxury tax bill currently hanging overhead. Swapping Melo for a player(s) of lesser value would also create a trade exception for OKC.
Another option if presented would be to trade Anthony to a team in exchange for players of equal/near-equal monetary value — most likely guys on longer contracts that their organization wishes to rid itself of. The money works on a hypothetical Dion Waiters + James Johnson for Melo deal, which would give the Heat a massive expiring contract ahead of the 2019 offseason while also cutting ties with assets that may not be in their long-term plans. However, this would do little to ease the Thunder’s tax burdens, so such a move makes little sense unless Sam Presti can find someone willing to part with a player that would move the needle next season and beyond.
Regardless of which route Presti and the Thunder take, Wojnarowski notes that moving on from Melo is “inevitable — if not imminent”, even going so far to say a resolution should be found within the next 7-10 days. This chapter should come to its unceremonious ending in short order.