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Atlanta Hawks request waivers on forward Carmelo Anthony

The Atlanta Hawks traded for Carmelo Anthony less than a week ago. Now it seems, Anthony is closing in on the next step of his career.

The Hawks have requested waivers on Anthony, which will allow the former All-Star to enter free agency. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Hawks and Anthony finalized their buyout agreement earlier today. Per various reports, the veteran forward is expected to sign with the Houston Rockets once he officially enters the free-agent player pool.

Here’s more from Wojnarowski on Anthony’s buyout:

Carmelo Anthony has finalized a contract buyout with the Atlanta Hawks and plans to wait until clearing waivers on Wednesday to officially tell the Houston Rockets of his plans to sign a free agent deal, league sources told ESPN.

Atlanta planned to waive Anthony on Monday morning, league sources said.

Anthony will get his full $27.9 million salary for the 2018-19 season, accepting a $2.4 million buyout with the Hawks that will essentially return to him once he signs $2.4 million veteran’s minimum deal with his new team, league sources said.

The Oklahoma City Thunder dealt the former All-Star Anthony to the Hawks on July 25 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.

Talk of the trade broke a few weeks 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 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.

After the season, he said he preferred to play with the ball in his hands more and said coming off the bench is “out of the question.”

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.