It is not yet known exactly how the Thunder will offload Melo—only that they are definitely planning to move on. The team is exploring three different options: a trade, utilizing the league's stretch provision, or a combined buyout and stretch.
"Anthony's agent, Leon Rose of CAA Sports, has a strong relationship and history with Thunder general manager Sam Presti, and they'll work together on Anthony's exit," the report states.
Melo recently opted into his $27.9 million contract for the 2018-19 season. If the Thunder kept him on the roster, they'd be due for a gargantuan luxury tax bill with a $310 million payroll. Per the report, eliminating Melo from the picture could save OKC over $100 million.
The report adds that Anthony "would be pursued vigorously among contenders on the free agent market." Expect the Rockets, Heat, and Lakers to inquire. Melo, of course, has close relationships with Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade, and LeBron James.
INFLATE THE BANANA BOAT. THIS IS NOT A DRILL. BEGIN INFLATION PROCEDURE. https://t.co/PODrVEJLZv— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) July 6, 2018
Melo struggled to adapt to a new role as a power forward last season and as a lesser cog in his team's offense. He shot 35.7 percent from three-point range and averaged 16.2 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per game, with an uninspiring Player Efficiency Rating of 12.7.