After being traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder last year, Carmelo Anthony is expected to opt in to the final year of his contract to remain with the team for the 2018-19 season. According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, the former All-Star will decline to exercise his option to enter free agency this July.
“Anthony has until Saturday at midnight (Eastern) to exercise the option that would make him a free agent July 1 — provided he were willing to walk away from the $27.9 million he is owed next season. But he is planning to let the deadline pass quietly and keep his current contract in effect.”
While Anthony will be opting in to the final year of his contract, that doesn’t necessarily mean that he will remain with the team for the upcoming season. While passing on the money for that final year isn’t something Carmelo is interested in, he has preciously voiced distaste with his role in Oklahoma City and hesitation towards remaining with the team long-term. The two sides may look into opportunities to move on from one another despite Anthony opting in.
Anthony still holds a high reputation around the league and would be a welcome contributor to many teams who may be active in the trade market. However, if the Thunder are unable to find any trades that are acceptable they may also pursue a buyout. Anthony was a strong contributor for Oklahoma City last season, but averaged career lows in points, field goal attempts, and minutes per game. After losing in the first round of the playoffs Anthony had this to say on his role on the team:
“It’s something I really have to think about, if I really want to be this type of player, finish out my career as this type of player, knowing that I have so much left in the tank and I bring so much to the game of basketball.”
Regardless of where Carmelo Anthony plays his next season, his contract for the upcoming season, worth $27.9 million is too good for him to pass up as he’d be unlikely to receive such a deal in free agency. However, many teams would still be interested in bringing Anthony on board, so his destination is still very much up in the air. The Thunder, and their general manager Sam Presti, expected Anthony to finish his contract in OKC, but now they certainly have their work ahead of them if they want to convince him to stay.