Carmelo Anthony might have not been too happy about his role on the Oklahoma City Thunder last season, but that apparently won’t stop the 34-year-old from sticking with the team for at least one more season.
Anthony has decided he will exercise his $27.9 million option and stay with the Thunder for the 2018-19 season, Marc Stein of The New York Times reports. Anthony had until Saturday to make the decision.
The contract was originally signed in 2014 with the New York Knicks, who traded Anthony last offseason for Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and a second-round pick.
Carmelo Anthony’s frustrating season
Anthony is coming off a disappointing season in which he averaged career worsts in both points (16.2 per game) and minutes (32.1). Initially billed as a member of the Thunder’s big 3, the team was instead much more the Paul George and Russell Westbrook instead. The team ultimately finished fourth in the West and were eliminated by the Jazz in the first round of the playoffs.
Given that decline in production, it might have been hard for Anthony to see himself significantly topping $27.9 million guaranteed in free agency, so this probably wasn’t a tough decision for the veteran. However, he did seem to have some grievances against the team during his final press conference with the media.
“I became who I am by playing the way that I’ve played and establishing a style of play and a type of play throughout my career,” Anthony said. “So now it’s about figuring out what is the best way to implement that game into something that we’re trying to create, and it’s not taking away nothing from Russell [Westbrook] or Paul or anybody else, or myself per se.
“I think we just all have to figure out how we’re going to play and what’s the style of play and what’s most effective in the way that we’re going to play. I think that’s something that we have to figure out.”
Paul George decision looming for Thunder
Anthony’s decision answers one big question for Oklahoma City heading into next year, but the much larger one of Paul George’s free agency destination still looms.
The small forward and southern California native has been widely tied to the Lakers in free agency, but the Thunder will obviously try to hold onto the star as they commit to the present with Russell Westbrook. Anthony’s decision at least gives the Thunder some certainty, but it’s hard to see them being nearly as competitive as they were last year without George.
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