Heat linked to Carmelo Anthony exodus from Thunder

Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images

Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images

According to ESPN, the Heat is one of three teams expected to show interest in Carmelo Anthony when the 10-time All-Star and three-time Olympic Gold medalist finally parts ways with the Oklahoma City Thunder this summer. The OK3 experiment looks to be officially finished in Oklahoma City.

The Thunder can use the stretch provision on Anthony's salary for next season to cut $107 million off the team's 2018-19 payroll and luxury tax bill.

So, when Anthony does leave, which team will pick him up?

Carmelo Anthony's time with the Oklahoma City Thunder appears to be coming to an end.

For now, according to ESPN reporters, the Thunder will first begin looking into trade possibilities with teams that will be looking to clear a ton of cap space for the summer of 2019 when players like Kyrie Irving or Klay Thompson may be available. The stretch provision spreads Anthony's salary annually onto the Thunder's cap for $9.3 million over three years.

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Should Anthony wind up as a free agent, the Heat likely would be limited to no more than a bid of the $5.3 million taxpayer mid-level exception, a figure that the Heat also may have to instead utilize for a potential return by Dwyane Wade. His unwillingness to come off the bench created awkward moments, as well.

The most likely result, even with a trade, is that Anthony would eventually become a free agent, making his ultimate destination and value a fascinating point of conjecture. He struggled during the Thunder's first-round playoff exit against the Jazz and expressed displeasure in his role.

The Lakers and Rockets, though, are in similar financial situations as the Heat with not a lot to offer in terms of money.

"Remember, two years ago he was considered a superstar still, I think if he gets a fresh new start in a big city he might play well".

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