Analyzed Sports | Stephen Patrick
Carmelo to the OKC Thunder
The Oklahoma City Thunder and Mr. Triple Double Russell Westbrook agreed to a contract extension Friday evening. The contract is for $205 million deal, this makes it the largest contract in NBA history. One of the driving forces behind the move is the Thunder willingness to build a winner around him.
After scoring more than 10,000 points for five coaches over seven seasons with no playoff success, Carmelo Anthony has finally left the New York Knicks. The Knicks traded Anthony, a 10-time N.B.A. All-Star, future Hall of Famer and one of the league’s great offensive weapons, to the Thunder for Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott, and a second-round draft pick.
The deal was completed two days before the start of Knicks training camp. The trade will allow the 33-year-old Anthony to join forces with two other top-flight players in Russell Westbrook and Paul George, a four-time All-Star — as the Thunder begin a wildly ambitious bid to challenge the supremacy of the Golden State Warriors, who have claimed two of the last three N.B.A. championships and are the strong favorites to win another next season. The Thunder have a legit big 3 to compete.
Paul George said his Oklahoma City Thunder feel “like a championship team” after they agreed to acquire Carmelo Anthony from the New York Knicks.
“This feels like a championship team,” George said. “I’m in a good place. I know Russ is in a good place. Melo is motivated more than ever. You put us three together, who all have something to prove still, and we’re going to be a special team. We have a young group, a lot of talent here, an unbelievable coach and as you see, a front office that’s willing to do whatever it takes to improve the team. It just has all the makeup to be a great organization and a chance to put championships together.”
Melo is coming off a season that saw him average 22.4 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game at small forward
If the stars must work out chemistry issues as they have been the lead player throughout their careers, there are questions about how George and Anthony will buy into their new roles. Coach Billy Donovan faces a challenge of keeping his new Big Three happy while also developing Steven Adams, Alex Abrines, and Jerami Grant. Newcomers Patrick Patterson and Ray Felton need to be involved as well.
The key to making this all click is Westbrook. The reigning MVP unleashed a John Wick-like tear last season in the wake of Kevin Durant’s departure. While it made for exciting moments—his late-game heroics likely played a significant role in his winning the MVP—it also made Oklahoma City predictable. The young roster also enabled Westbrook to accomplish his triple-double feat. The offseason additions give him no reason to duplicate that. The season can’t hear fast enough.