Carmelo Anthony Rumors: Thunder Star Does Not Plan to Opt Out of Contract

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistJune 22, 2018

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Carmelo Anthony gestures following a three-point basket during Game 2 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series between the Utah Jazz and the Oklahoma City Thunder in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, April 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Carmelo Anthony reportedly does not plan to exercise his $27.9 million early-termination option for the 2018-19 season. 

The New York Times' Marc Stein reported Friday that Anthony is "planning to let the deadline pass quietly and keep his current contract in effect." Anthony is able to exercise that option until Saturday at midnight Eastern time. 

Once the deadline passes, Anthony and the Thunder will have to contemplate if they have a future together. While the 34-year-old is scheduled to be under contract for one more season, Stein noted his displeasure with his smaller off-ball role "raises the possibility that the sides could pursue buyout negotiations this offseason." 

"Yeah, I'm not sacrificing no bench role, so you can—that's out of the question," Anthony said at his exit interview in April, according to the New York Post's Marc Berman

"I don't want to say stripped, but I think just challenging me to be a different type of player, a different caliber player, a guy who for 14 seasons has been a certain type of player," he added. "As far as being effective as that type of player, I don't think I can be effective as that type of player.

"I think I was willing to accept that challenge in that role, but I think I bring a little bit more to the game as far as being more knowledgeable and what I still can do as a basketball player."

Anthony averaged a career-low 16.2 points per game on 40.4 percent shooting from the field, including 35.7 percent from three, during his first year with the Thunder. 

His usage rate also dipped to a career-low 23.2 percent, according to Basketball Reference—a mark that ranked third among rotational regulars behind Russell Westbrook (34.1 percent) and Paul George (25.7 percent). 

"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," Anthony said, per Berman. "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."

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