- Mike Ehrmann/Getty
The Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday reportedly completed a deal to land Carmelo Anthony from the New York Knicks.
In exchange, the Thunder reportedly sent center Enes Kanter, guard Doug McDermott, and a 2018 second-round pick.
The deal marks the second big trade the Thunder have pulled off this summer. In June, the Thunder traded Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis to the Indiana Pacers for Paul George.
In turn, the Thunder have pulled off a master-class in super-team building that will give them a chance (if even a slight one) at competing for a title. A trio of Russell Westbrook, George, and Anthony certainly comes with questions, but it also has the potential to be a dynamic offensive force that few teams can match.
Perhaps the most impressive part of all of this, as Yahoo’s Chris Mannix notes, is how the Thunder landed two star players for very little in exchange.
Oklahoma City turned Enes Kanter, Victor Oladipo, Sabonis, Doug McDermott and a second round pick this summer into PG and Carmelo Anthony.
— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixYS) September 23, 2017
Kanter and Oladipo, though young and talented, were also signed to large, long-term deals that the Thunder have now wisely gotten off their cap sheets. McDermott and Sabonis, both on their rookie deals, have potential, but their ceilings are certainly questionable. Turning the four of them into two stars – and in the case of George, arguably a top-15 NBA player – is a huge success.
The deals also don’t rid the Thunder of all that much depth. Players like Steven Adams, Patrick Patterson, Andre Roberson, and Raymond Felton are all rotation-worthy players who are still in place. The cost of building a super-team is often sacrificing depth – the Thunder have largely avoided that.
There is some risk in the Thunder’s moves. Both George and Anthony can become free agents next year, and Oklahoma City isn’t considered a prime free-agent destination, particularly for two players with interest in large markets. Likewise, Russell Westbrook still hasn’t signed a long-term extension that’s reportedly on the table, leaving some concern for his future with the team.
However, the Thunder, in essence, are taking a gamble and showing Westbrook they are committed to trying to win. It’s possible that the Thunder still don’t have the firepower to compete with the Warriors or perhaps the similarly loaded Houston Rockets.
But trading for a versatile, explosive player like George and dynamic scorer like Anthony to take some pressure off Westbrook is a worthwhile pursuit. Even if it does not end in a championship, or even a conference finals appearance, the Thunder figure to win many games this season and have a lot of fun doing it.