Oct 3, 2017; Tulsa, OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Carmelo Anthony (7) handles the ball against Houston Rockets forward Ryan Anderson (33) during the first quarter at the BOK Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Carmelo Anthony is no longer a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder and is expected to become a free agent after a trade to the Atlanta Hawks, who are reportedly planning to waive him.

On Thursday, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported the Houston Rockets are the early favorite to land Anthony after the deal that also featured the Thunder’s acquisition of point guard Dennis Schroder.

Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution provided full details of the three-team swap, which also featured the Philadelphia 76ers.

Anthony joined OKC in a trade with the New York Knicks last September. His arrival, paired with the Thunder’s acquisition of Paul George from the Indiana Pacers and the continued presence of 2016-17 MVP Russell Westbrook, significantly raised expectations.

While it’s impossible to blame Oklahoma City for trying to keep pace in the NBA’s superteam era by acquiring two stars to play with Westbrook, the effort didn’t yield results.

The Thunder finished last season with a 48-34 record—a one-win improvement from the previous year—and again lost in the first round of the playoffs.

Anthony struggled to adjust to no longer being the offensive focus. He posted career-low totals in both points per game (16.2) and shooting percentage (40.4).

His inability to generate scoring while often working as the third option behind George and Westbrook raised questions about whether he’d be better off leading the second unit. The 10-time All-Star quickly shot down that idea at season’s end, though.

“Yeah, I’m not sacrificing no bench role,” Anthony told reporters in April. “That’s out of the question.”

Although the 34-year-old New York City native picked up his player option for the 2018-19 season, Wojnarowski and Royce Young of ESPN.com reported a breakup was “inevitable.”

Now Anthony will soon hit the open market. His track record is impressive, but he’s trended even more toward a volume scorer in recent seasons, which is a concern given putting up points is his main attribute.

Jordan Schultz of Yahoo Sports reported Melo would like to play alongside LeBron James with the Los Angeles Lakers, while the Rockets’ Chris Paul is pushing his team to add the forward.

It’s unclear whether Anthony will take his time to do a free-agent tour or make a quick decision about where to play next.

Courtesy: Bleacher Report


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