Carmelo Anthony is reportedly headed to the Oklahoma City Thunder after the team agreed on a trade with the New York Knicks on Saturday.
According to ESPN.com's Adrian Wojnarowski, New York acquired center Enes Kanter, forward Doug McDermott and a 2018 second-round draft pick in exchange for Melo.
Though Anthony might not be feared as an offensive presence as much as he used to be, the 33-year-old still averaged 22.4 points per game last season while earning his eighth straight All-Star appearance. He has 10 All-Star nods in his career to go with one scoring title and 24.8 points per game, which ranks 15th in NBA history.
ESPN.com's Zach Lowe was among those who praised the Thunder for bringing in two big-time players without having to give much up:
Zach Lowe @ZachLowe_NBA
Took a lot of unusual circumstances, but Presti turned (mostly) bad contracts into Paul George and Carmelo Anthony.2017-9-23 17:24:01
Josh Eberley of Hoop magazine also touched on that and provided his take on Oklahoma City general manager Sam Presti's reaction to the trade:
Josh Eberley 🇨🇦 @JoshEberley
Sam Presti after turning Cameron Payne, Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis into Paul George and Carmelo Anthony... How in the hell.. https://t.co/IkE23o3PXg2017-9-23 17:07:07
Randy Cruz of Hoops in the Sun Summer League compared the new-look Thunder to a blast from the past in the form of WCW's New World Order:
Randy Cruz @randyjcruz
Sam Presti, Russell Westbrook, Paul George, Carmelo Anthony walking into Chesapeake Energy Arena like... https://t.co/WVJhNCfgqp2017-9-23 17:19:08
ESPN's Ryen Russillo was among those who liked the deal for OKC, partially because Kanter wasn't a great fit there:
Good deal for OKC. I've never been as anti-Melo as most. Kanter deal was stupid and you had to bench him in certain matchups/playoff series.2017-9-23 17:25:33
Also, while MSG's Alan Hahn acknowledged the Knicks didn't get a great haul, they didn't bind themselves financially either:
Alan Hahn @alanhahn
Contracts in are short term (options) and pick is just window dressing. Really didn't get much back for Melo here, but didn't take on $$.2017-9-23 17:26:02
New York had been trying to move Anthony and his contract—he is set to make $26.2 million next season—for months, with former team president Phil Jackson trying to convince him to waive his no-trade clause while Jackson was still in charge of the team.
"We'd like him to have success," Jackson said in May, per Nick Friedell and Ian Begley of ESPN.com. "The opportunity is narrowing. We'd just like him to have success somewhere. We're not going to be there. Hopefully, we'll be maybe a playoff team next year. It would be tough to consider us a possible champion."
While Anthony initially refused, it appears he softened his stance. Wojnarowski reported in early July the forward was willing to be dealt to either the Cleveland Cavaliers or Houston Rockets.
Though Melo enjoyed statistical success in New York, team success was difficult to come by. Because of that, KFC Barstool doesn't have especially fond memories of Anthony during his time with the Knicks:
Good riddance Carmelo Anthony. The Melo Era was an unmitigated disaster and he is one of the most overrated “superstars” in NBA history2017-9-23 17:17:28
It's possible the feeling is mutual, as Barstool Sports suggested Anthony may be a new man now:
Barstool Sports @barstoolsports
Melo right now after years of being on the Knicks https://t.co/mC1Gxo8O4t2017-9-23 17:22:40
By landing Melo, the Thunder accomplished a couple of significant goals, including keeping him away from a Western Conference rival in the Rockets.
Top NBA Coverage joked that James Harden may not be too happy with that:
Top NBA Coverage @TopBallCoverage
When Westbrook steals your MVP, then steals Melo https://t.co/w4HZ0Ap3dS2017-9-23 17:22:36
Also, OKC likely became a bigger threat to the Golden State Warriors, and Denizcan Targaryen suggested Kevin Durant's old team might keep KD up at night:
Denizcan Targaryen @MrFilmkritik
OKC: Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony and Paul George. Live look at Kevin Durant. https://t.co/yJ2KC6PVez2017-9-23 17:14:53
The Thunder added another elite scorer to Westbrook and George, turning what was essentially a one-man team last season into a contender.
It won't be easy to match the Warriors after their impressive run over the last three seasons, but the West has gotten even deeper with this latest move. Oklahoma City was a scary No. 6 seed in 2016-17, but it should be a lot better in 2017-18.