The Thunder currently have a historically absurd $310 million payroll, and in order to cut that down, they’ve decided to turn their attention towards the albatross wearing No. 7.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Royce Young report that the Thunder are going to find a way—whether through the stretch provision, a trade, or a buyout—to get out of the $27.9 million they owe Melo for the 2018-19 season. This plan is to do this “this summer.”
By jettisoning Anthony, the Thunder could save over $100 million if they trade him or use the stretch provision on his contract. Stretching Melo would mean spreading his contract’s cap hit over three years, amounting to $9.3 million over each of the next three seasons. Doing so would save the team roughly $107 million. According to the report, though, the Thunder prefer a trade and are banking on another team that wants to take on an expiring contract in order to create more cap space for the 2019 offseason.
Melo’s role on the team for the upcoming season was dubious from the start. He opted into his $27.9 million deal with a pretty clear indication that he wouldn’t play much, taking the financial guarantee over a better role on a different team. Now, it seems like both sides will get what they want.
It seems doubtful that a potential contender wants an aging, isolation scorer who spent all of last season lounging out in the perimeter for corner threes, but the LeBron Lakers have already made a bunch of weird signings—what’s one more?