Trade exemption OKC Thunder obtained in Carmelo Anthony deal expires today

Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and LeBron James . OKC Thunder tax exemption expires today (Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)
Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and LeBron James . OKC Thunder tax exemption expires today (Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images) /

When the OKC Thunder traded Carmelo Anthony last season to the Hawks they obtained a $10.8 million trade exemption which expires today – July 25th.

Just one year ago the OKC Thunder were mired in a situation of what to do with Carmelo Anthony. The team had been unceremonially ousted in the first round of the playoffs by the Utah Jazz.

In the last two games, Head Coach Billy Donovan finally recognized Carmelo Anthony could not be on the court particularly in clutch minutes and more accurately against any of the starting Jazz players. In essence, he became a very expensive deterrent.

Ultimately, Donovan was forced to bench Anthony and the team who once called Anthony, Westbrook, and George the OK3 were faced with a player who was more of a negative than a positive for the squad. Moreover, there weren’t options the team could try since Melo refused to even consider playing with the reserves.

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Flash forward to the 2018 offseason and it was thought General Manager, Sam Presti would have to waive Melo and buy out his contract.

Hmm–isn’t that what many are saying now about Chris Paul? But, Presti pulled another rabbit from that infamous magician’s hat of his and was able to trade the one time superstar to the Hawks along with their 2022 first round draft pick in exchange for Dennis Schroder. Since Carmelo was due to earn $27.9 million this was considered a stroke of genius by Presti.

Given how much the OKC Thunder have changed these past few weeks that 2022 draft pick becomes an interesting sidebar since it’s protected 1 through 14, meaning if OKC in their rebuild stage is a bottom 14 team lottery team in 2022 they’ll keep that pick and instead owe the Hawks two future second round picks.

Three teams were involved in the Anthony trade which also witnessed Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot arriving in OKC. Ironically 2019 Thunder free agent addition Mike Muscala was also part of this trade as he was sent to Philly from Atlanta

As for the $10.8 trade exemption, the OKC Thunder salary remains in the luxury in their current state (albeit not by much). Therefore, it’s unlikely the team will be able to capitalize on using it.

Thank you, Russell Westbrook; a trip down memory lane. dark. Next

A bit of a lost opportunity, but the fact the club is so close to getting under the luxury when they entered the offseason sitting atop the list of teams with the largest salary this augments how much things have changed in just a few weeks.