The Carmelo Anthony experiment is over in Oklahoma City.
The Thunder have agreed to a trade that will send forward Carmelo Anthony to the Atlanta Hawks with Dennis Schroder and Mike Muscala being received in return. Reports say Anthony will be bought out by the Hawks, leaving him to choose any team he wishes in free agency.
The Houston Rockets are a likely choice for Anthony as he is still searching for his first championship and the Rockets could use another forward after losing Trevor Ariza in free agency.
As for the Thunder, they are able to move on from Carmelo Anthony and they receive a couple of decent pieces in return.
Schroder gives the Thunder another strong option at point guard and actually opens up a variety of different lineups to use. Schroder averaged close to 20 points-per-game as the Hawks starting point guard in the 2017-18 season but he likely won’t be starting for the Thunder unless Westbrook slides over to the shooting guard spot.
Let’s take a look at the roster and go over potential lineups for the Thunder going into the new season.
Oklahoma City Thunder Starting Lineup and Roster
- PG – Russell Westbrook, Dennis Schroder, Raymond Felton, Devon Hall
- SG – Andre Roberson, Alex Abrines, Corey Brewer, Terrance Ferguson, Hamidou Diallo
- SF – Paul George, Jerami Grant, Kyle Singler, Daniel Hamilton
- PF – Patrick Patterson, Kevin Hervey
- C – Steven Adams, Dakari Johnson, Nerlens Noel
This roster is by no means finalized as a lot can change between now and next season but this what we’re looking at right now. The most interesting thing about the roster is how Dennis Schroder will be used.
With his high-scoring ability he could either come off the bench as the sixth man or he could slide into a role in the starting backcourt. Russell Westbrook is still clearly the leader of the offense so it makes the most sense for him to remain as the starting point guard.
If Schroder does start, we’re probably looking at a lineup like this:
- PG – Westbrook
- SG – Schroder
- SF – George
- PF – Patterson
- C – Adams
On paper, this looks like a scary starting lineup but will it be enough to the topple the Warriors or even the Rockets? The Warriors only got stronger this summer by adding center DeMarcus Cousins and the Rockets have only grown hungrier.
The other player coming over in the trade is Mike Muscala who has carved out a nice role of being a spot-up 3-point shooter. However, Muscala is being sent to the 76ers in exchange for forward Timothe Luwawa-Cabarrot.
Westbrook wants to prove he can win in OKC as the star player and this team will likely be his best post-Durant chance to prove it. Carmelo Anthony never quite seemed to fit in as the third option on the team and never seemed comfortable in his role as a spot-up shooter after being the featured option for most of his career.
With Paul George re-signing with the Thunder and the acquisition of Schroder and Muscala, it’s clear the Thunder are in win now mode as what narrow window the team has of winning a championship only grows more narrow by the year.