Carmelo Anthony is officially a member of the Atlanta Hawks ... for now.
The Oklahoma City Thunder dealt the former All-Star forward to the Hawks in exchange for guard Dennis Schroder in a three-team deal also involving the Philadelphia 76ers. As part of the deal, the Hawks receive Anthony, Justin Anderson from the 76ers and a protected 2022 first-round pick from the Thunder. The Thunder also receive Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot from Philadelphia, while the Sixers receive Hawks big man Mike Muscala.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank Carmelo Anthony and acknowledge his professionalism and contributions during his time with the Thunder,” Thunder GM Sam Presti said in a statement released by the team. “Although his tenure was only one year, the fact that Melo is a part of our history is important to us. We appreciate Carmelo and his agent Leon Rose for their collaboration and communication as we worked to resolve the situation in a fashion that was suitable to everyone. We wish Melo and his family nothing but the best in the future.”
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Talk of the trade broke less than a week ago, as Oklahoma City was working to move Anthony to save on its luxury tax bill for next season. The Hawks reportedly will buyout Anthony's contract, which will make him an unrestricted free agent if he clears waivers.
Marc Stein of The New York Times reported on Monday that Anthony plans to sign with the Houston Rockets once he is officially a free agent.
The first-round pick being sent to the Hawks is lottery protected (1-14) for 2022 and becomes two second-round picks if it doesn't convey, according to Royce Young of ESPN.
“On behalf of the Hawks organization, I’d like to thank Mike and Dennis for their contributions to our team over the last five years,” said Hawks GM Travis Schlenk said in a statement released Wednesday. “Both players worked extremely hard to develop and improve throughout their careers in Atlanta and each had a special connection with our fans. We wish them all the best moving forward.”
The 34-year-old Anthony had been the headliner his entire career -- he’s 19th in NBA history with 25,417 points -- but he was more of a catch-and-shoot scorer last season instead of the isolation specialist he had always been. He averaged 16.2 points per game, but struggled at times in his new role. His playing time dwindled in the playoffs and he wasn’t happy. In Game 6 of the first-round playoff series against the Utah Jazz that ended Oklahoma City’s season, he played fewer minutes than backup Jerami Grant.
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After the season, he said he prefers to play with the ball in his hands more and said coming off the bench is “out of the question.”
“So it’s something I really have to think about, if I really want to be this type of player, finish out my career as this type of player, knowing that I have so much left in the tank and I bring so much to the game of basketball,” he said.
Muscala, also drafted by Atlanta in 2013, brings size and shooting to Philadelphia. The 6-foot-11 forward/center averaged 7.6 points and 4.3 rebounds in 20.0 minutes and shot 37.1 percent from 3-point range last season. His presence could help replace the production of forward Ersan Ilyasova, who signed with the Milwaukee Bucks during free agency.
Luwawu-Cabbarot is two years removed from being selected with the No. 24 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. The lanky guard averaged 5.8 points, 1.4 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 15.5 minutes for the 76ers last season.
Anderson is a four-year NBA veteran after two seasons with the Dallas Mavericks and two with the 76ers. He played in just 38 games for Philadelphia last season. He was selected by the Mavericks with the No. 21 pick of the 2015 NBA Draft.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.