Carmelo Anthony is currently a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder, but it's starting to look unlikely that he suits up for the squad this coming season. Anthony opted into the final year of his contract with the franchise, but he's likely going to cost them too much money to keep around.
Anthony's decision to opt in cost the Thunder $27.9 million this season - and it's partially led to a situation where the franchise is, at the moment, $36 million over the salary cap. The Thunder also re-signed Paul George this offseason.
Because of luxury tax rules, it actually makes sense for the Thunder to either buy Anthony out, waive him and stretch his contract (pay him slowly over time) or trade him. At the moment, if the Thunder stretched Anthony's contract, it would save them over $100 million.
Why? Because when teams go over the salary cap, the luxury tax can get out of control, real fast.
There is one trade that might make sense, at least on paper. If the Thunder don't want Anthony around this season, they could trade him to the Lakers for Luol Deng and a draft pick.
Deng has two years left on his deal - and he's owed just north of $36 million over those two years.
With Anthony on the Lakers, Los Angeles would have more offensive firepower for LeBron James to work with. Then, at the end of the season, they'd have an expiring contract - meaning they could make a run at someone like Kawhi Leonard, should he be available.
Oklahoma City would save around $50 million on the luxury tax in such a deal, and rid itself of Anthony. It would also get a draft pick in the process.
It's also possible that the Thunder ditch Anthony and he winds up on the Lakers anyway for the veteran minimum. Anthony will be making a ton of money either way this coming season - so he might just want a chance to team up with the King for a year in Los Angeles.
The only question here is whether the Lakers are interested in acquiring Anthony. We'll likely find out in the coming days.