The Oklahoma City Thunder are expected to move part ways with former All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony that will reportedly save the team $100 million in salary and luxury tax toward the 2018-19 season.
This will put him immediately on the open market this offseason as an unrestricted free agent, which he will have a few teams interested in his services that include the Los Angeles Lakers, according to Adrian Wojnarowski and Royce Young of ESPN.
Anthony, a 10-time NBA All-Star and three-time Olympic gold medalist, would be pursued vigorously among contenders on the free-agent market. The Houston Rockets, Miami Heatand Los Angeles Lakers are among multiple teams expected to express interest in Anthony, sources tell ESPN.
The connection to the Lakers stems from the team possessing one of Anthony’s closest friends in the league in LeBron James, who has agreed to sign a four-year, $154 million deal over this past weekend. It could also be a chance to be a part of a team that could compete in the Western Conference for an NBA title in the stacked Western Conference.
The 34-year-old averaged 16.2 points on a career-low 40.4 percent shooting from the field and 35.7 percent from 3-point range along with 5.8 rebounds in 32.1 minutes per contest while starting in all 78 games played. The change of scenery along with an adjusted role in Los Angeles could help him get on track to being a more effective scorer. However, this would require him to accept a decreased role and a much lower salary next season.
The Rockets could also present an intriguing destination for Anthony given their need to fulfill their small forward position with veteran forward Trevor Ariza electing to ink a one-year, $15 million deal with the Phoenix Suns. Nonetheless, Los Angeles should figure into the equation in some form or fashion for Anthony in free agency.