The OKC Thunder finally traded away Carmelo Anthony. They packaged their 2022 first round pick (protected) and Melo to Atlanta and acquired Dennis Schroder and Mike Muscala. Reports were coming out for a month stating Melo’s lack of interest for OKC. Anthony is supposed to be waived and sign with the Houston Rockets as a free agent.
Thunder saved $73M after this move. They’re still way above the salary cap but they’ve had the best summer so far among all 30 teams. First, they resigned Paul George to a 4 year deal and now they have a solid backup point guard in Schroder. They also signed free agent Nerlens Noel for a minimum contract earlier in July. This gives them a lot of bench depth which they seriously lacked last season. One glaring flaw in the Thunder roster is the lack of outside shooting. Schroder shot below 30% from the perimeter last season. The question of on-court chemistry also remains.
Atlanta Hawks didn’t lose out either. They drafted Trae Young with the fifth overall pick this year and look to invest heavily in him. Trading away their star point guard was the first step towards building a team around him. Dennis Schroder had also publicly stated that he was dissatisfied with the Atlanta Hawks franchise.
This trade essentially makes OKC the second best team in the western conference right now. They now have three players who can handle the basketball. They can play small ball as well as fill the paint with with Steven Adams and Nerlens Noel on the court together. Defensively speaking, they now have three all-defensive caliber players in Noel, George and Roberson while also having a young athletic wing in Jerami Grant. They matchup pretty well against the Warriors and Rockets on paper and will surely look towards going deep in the playoffs.