And on Saturday there was concrete movement, with The Vertical’s Shams Charania reporting that Anthony will be traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for center Enes Kanter, forward Doug McDermott and a 2018 second-round draft pick.
In Kanter, the Knicks get much needed big-man scoring help along with a contract that would further the team’s plans. As NBA.com’s David Aldridge explains, Kanter has just one guaranteed year left on his contract plus a player option for 2018-19.
“New York is not interested in a deal in which it takes back significant money in the 2019-20 season. That season, the Knicks could have significant salary cap room,” Aldridge writes.
The Knicks also didn’t want Anthony on an Eastern Conference opponent, which precluded a trade to a team like the Cleveland Cavaliers, Aldridge says. Anthony reportedly had the Cavs and the Rockets on his list of possible destinations before Saturday’s news broke.
Life moves pretty fast: On Tuesday, Kanter tweeted out just how happy he was to be in Oklahoma City:
Kanter again thanked his Thunder teammates — “please beat the Warriors for me,” he said — and the people of Oklahoma City on Saturday afternoon in a Twitter video.
The trade would match Anthony with NBA league MVP Russell Westbrook and Paul George, giving the Thunder a one-year superteam that could compete with the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets in the Western Conference. The Thunder acquired George via trade in late June, and he and Westbrook could become unrestricted free agents after this season.
Anthony has played six-plus seasons in New York but has helped the Knicks to only one NBA playoff series victory. New York has missed the postseason in four straight seasons, and Anthony’s relationship with the franchise soured when Phil Jackson was brought on board as team president in 2014.
The Thunder open the season at home against the Knicks on Oct. 19.