Despite a disappointing exit in the postseason, Carmelo Anthony will remain with the Oklahoma City Thunder next season… as he chose not to opt out of his contract before the deadline this weekend, reports ESPN.
Since trading for Melo last summer, the Thunder believed he would opt into the final year of his deal, despite comments he made after last season about his dissatisfaction with his role.
“I think for me, my focus would be on kind of figuring out what I want out of the rest of my career, what I want in my future, what am I willing to accept, if I’m willing to accept that at all,” Anthony said following the season. “I think everybody knows that I’ve sacrificed kind of damned near everything, family, moving here by myself, sacrificed my game for the sake of the team, and was willing to sacrifice anything and everything in order for this situation to work out. So 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.”
Still, even though Melo will be under contract for next season, the Thunder has a few options to think about… if it doesn’t work out. They could negotiate a buyout, use the stretch and waive provision, or work a trade for Anthony (though he would need to waive his no-trade clause).
Last season, the 34-year-old All-Star averaged career lows: 16.2 points on 40.4 percent shooting.
Melo will earn $27.9 million in 2018-19 — the final year of the five-year, $120 million contract he signed with the New York Knicks in 2014. With his salary, coupled with what is expected to be a max-level contract for Paul George, the Thunder would have one of the NBA’s largest payrolls. According to ESPN, payroll would be close to $150 million, with a luxury tax of more than $120 million.
George will have until the end of the week to opt out of the final year of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent. If he doesn’t opt out, he will be paid $20.2 million next season.