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With the Oklahoma City Thunder getting bounced from the first round of the playoffs, and age starting to get the best of Carmelo Anthony’s skills, it may not be a bad idea to part ways.
And that is precisely what the Thunder would like to do, according to a report from longtime NBA reporter Sean Deveney the Sporting News.
“While the Thunder want to keep (Paul) George long-term, they’d very much like to find a way to rid themselves of Anthony, who could not find a role with the team and did not inspire confidence with his unwillingness to sacrifice, highlighted by his insistence that he would not come off the bench,” Deveney wrote.
Anthony averaged a career-low 16.2 points in 78 games this season, his first running alongside George and Russell Westbrook with the Thunder. He also shot a career-low 40 percent from the field.
While the Thunder are hoping to keep George, should he opt out of his contract and enter free agency, they are expected to be working the phones looking for a partner (or two) to make an Anthony deal work.
But that won’t be easy, and it may be downright impossible. His skills may be in decline, but his salary is on the rise — as Anthony is owed $28 million next season, the final year of his contract.
Couple that with the fact Anthony balked at the idea of potentially coming off the bench and … well, it’s easy to see why the Thunder might prefer to move on.
“As he turns 34 this spring and with his skills diminishing, it’s past time for Anthony to consider different ways he can contribute to a good team, if he is still interested in winning,” Deveney wrote. “There are times he seems to long for his days of jacking up shots for the Knicks on the way to another 30-win season.
“At least then he could point the finger elsewhere — the owner, the coach, the absentee team president — and come across as the mature one in the organization.”