Along with Anthony and his $27.9 million expiring contract, the Thunder will send a 2022 protected first-round pick to the Hawks for guard Dennis Schroder and forward Mike Muscala. The 2022 first-round pick is protected 1-14 and becomes two second-round picks if not conveyed in that first year, league sources said.
Schroder comes to the Thunder for a desired need: another fast, playmaking point guard for a revved-up bench behind All-Star guard Russell Westbrook. OKC general manager Sam Presti and coach Billy Donovan were given permission to speak with Schroder before the agreement, and the three of them discussed his role with Oklahoma City.
The Thunder could have saved $107 million with the waive-and-stretch provision on Anthony's $27.9 million contract but hunted a trade that allows them to save slightly less money and improve the roster. The stretch provision would have added $9 million-plus per year to the Thunder's payroll for the next three years, dead money that could not be moved off the cap.
The Thunder's projected luxury tax bill, meanwhile, will drop from $150 million to $88.8 million, saving them more than $61 million. The Thunder will save an additional $11 million with Schroder's $15.5 million contract and the $1.5 million cap hit of Luwawu-Cabarrot. The Thunder's payroll will stand at $148.7 million after the Anthony and Muscala deals.
Schroder has three years at $15.5 million annually left on his deal, which makes it really worth $5 million per year to the Thunder because they would have had to pay $9 million of that over the next three seasons for Anthony. In essence, Oklahoma City is paying $5 million in each of the next three seasons for a 24-year-old point guard who has started 161 games in five NBA seasons.
Anthony was acquired from the New York Knicks before training camp opened last season and waived his no-trade clause. He accepted a new role with OKC that featured changing positions from small forward to power forward. It took time for Anthony to adapt, and he never completely got comfortable playing as a catch-and-shoot stretch-4.
It came to a head during the Thunder's postseason series against the Utah Jazz, with Anthony's role being reduced throughout the series. In Game 6, Anthony played only 26 minutes, including just three in the fourth quarter. Anthony averaged 11.8 points in the series, shooting just 37.5 percent from the field and 21.4 percent from 3-point range.
While Anthony expressed frustration with his role after the season, the Thunder had anticipated that he would opt in to the final year of his contract, always viewing the trade with the Knicks as a two-year deal.
Information from ESPN's Bobby Marks and Royce Young was used in this report.