Thursday's NBA: Anthony traded to Hawks, waiver likely
Oklahoma City — Carmelo Anthony is done in Oklahoma City.
A person with knowledge of the details told The Associated Press the Thunder are sending Anthony and a 2022 protected first-round pick to Atlanta in exchange for Hawks guard Dennis Schroder and Mike Muscala. Anthony will be waived by the Hawks, clearing the way for him to sign as a free agent elsewhere. The person spoke Thursday on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the situation publicly.
ESPN, which first reported the trade, said the Thunder will send Muscala to the Philadelphia 76ers for Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, and Philadelphia’s Justin Anderson will be sent to Atlanta.
Schroder, a speedy 6-foot-1 guard, averaged a career-high 19.4 points last season for the Hawks in 67 games, all starts.
Anthony’s lone season in Oklahoma City was largely a bust. He averaged 16.2 points and struggled at times in his new role alongside Russell Westbrook and Paul George. The 10-time All-Star posted career lows in scoring average and field goal percentage, and the Thunder were ousted in the first round of the playoffs by Utah.
The 34-year-old Anthony had been the headliner his entire career — he’s 19th in NBA history with 25,417 points — but he was more of a catch-and-shoot scorer last season instead of the isolation specialist he had always been.
His playing time dwindled in the playoffs. In Game 6 of the first-round series against Utah that ended Oklahoma City’s season, he played fewer minutes than reserve Jerami Grant. After the season, he said he prefers to play with the ball in his hands more and said coming off the bench is “out of the question.”
Anthony opted in earlier this summer to accept the $28 million he was due next season. The Thunder re-signed Grant, then it was reported that Anthony and the Thunder would eventually part ways, though it was unclear how it would happen.
Schroder will likely fill a role for the Thunder similar to that of James Harden and Reggie Jackson in the past — explosive player who thrives as a lead scorer with the second unit.
The Thunder are poised to be one of the best teams in the West after re-signing Paul George and Grant, adding center Nerlens Noel and Schroder and getting defensive stopper Andre Roberson back from a ruptured left patellar tendon that cost him the last three months of the season.
Schroder comes with some baggage. He was arrested in September following a fight at a hookah bar, an issue that has not been resolved. He was benched for most of the second half in a game during the 2016-17 season when he began arguing with Dwight Howard on the court, didn’t guard his man and gave up an easy basket. He was suspended for one game in 2017 when he returned late from the All-Star break.
The Hawks at one point considered Schroder their future cornerstone, but they switched directions and drafted Oklahoma’s Trae Young in the first round of this year. The Hawks also added Brooklyn’s Jeremy Lin.
Porter undergoes surgery
Denver Nuggets rookie forward Michael Porter Jr. has undergone back surgery in Dallas and there is no timetable for his return to the court.
The team said the procedure of the lumbar spine was performed by Dr. Andrew Dossett at the Carrell Clinic.
Porter was taken by Denver with the 14th overall pick in the June draft. He was considered a top-five selection before a back injury that required surgery limited him to three games at Missouri in 2017-18.
The 6-foot-10 Porter was hampered by back and hip soreness during pre-draft workouts. But the Nuggets felt his talent was work the risk, with Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly saying at the time: “You have to take a swing at guys like that.”
The Boston Celtics re-signed guard Marcus Smart, bringing him back for four more years after he found the market for a restricted free agent defensive specialist wasn’t as lucrative as he’d hoped.
A person with knowledge of the agreement told the AP that Smart will be paid $52 million over the next four years.
... Luc Mbah a Moute is back with the Los Angeles Clippers, signing a free-agent deal. Terms of the deal announced were not announced.
The 31-year-old forward averaged 7.5 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.18 steals in 61 games for Houston last season.
Mbah a Moute played two seasons for the Clippers from 2015-17, averaging 4.6 points and 2.2 rebounds in 155 games, including 137 starts.