Thunder To Sign Trey Burke

The Thunder are putting the finishing touches on a deal with free agent point guard Trey Burke, tweets Shams Charania of The Vertical.

The 24-year-old has been looking for an opportunity since the Wizards refused to extend him a qualifying offer after the end of last season. Burke spent one year in Washington after being acquired in a trade with the Jazz, averaging 5.0 points and 1.8 assists in 57 games. He was the primary backup to John Wall for much of the season, but fell out of the rotation after Washington signed Brandon Jennings in February.

Burke attended a workout for the Timberwolves earlier this month and a free agent mini-camp with the Bucks in late August. He received interest from the Knicks as well.

If Burke makes the Oklahoma City roster, he will compete with newly signed Raymond Felton to be a veteran backup to Russell Westbrook.

Latest On The Carmelo Anthony Trade

Carmelo Anthony recently added the Thunder to the list of teams he would waive his no-trade clause to join, but Oklahoma City GM Sam Presti and New York GM Scott Perry had been discussing a deal for weeks, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Talks intensified over the last 24 hours before the agreement was reached earlier today. Anthony had reportedly insisted for most of the summer that he would only go to Houston, but he expanded that list this week to include the Thunder and Cavaliers.

The deal will be formally completed Monday, and Oklahoma City expects to have Anthony on hand when training camp begins Tuesday.

More has emerged since the trade was announced:

  • Sources tell ESPN’s Ian Begley that Anthony believed yesterday there was a good chance he was headed to Cleveland (Twitter link). Anthony has a tight relationship with LeBron James, and the Cavaliers could use another scorer while Isaiah Thomas is sidelined with a hip injury.
  • The addition of Anthony could put the Thunder in the running to sign Dwyane Wade once he reaches a buyout with the Bulls, tweets Chris Mannix of the Vertical. Wade probably wouldn’t start in Oklahoma City and the team can’t offer much money, but he may be willing to accept a sixth man role to take another shot at a ring beside Anthony, Russell Westbrook and Paul George.
  • Presti should be lauded for rebuilding the Thunder without surrendering a first-round pick, tweets Michael Lee of The Vertical. OKC send Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis to Indiana in exchange for George, then shipped Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and a 2018 second-rounder to the Knicks to get Anthony. The Thunder already owe their 2018 first-round pick to Minnesota (lottery protected) and another first-rounder to Orlando two years later.
  • Oklahoma City had a secret weapon, Lee adds, in vice president and assistant GM Troy Weaver, who helped recruit Anthony when he was an assistant coach at Syracuse (Twitter link).
  • The trade establishes the Thunder as the greatest threat to the Warriors’ dominance in the West, writes Dieter Kurtenbach of The San Jose Mercury News. He sees Anthony stepping into a much better role as a complementary stretch four in Oklahoma City, rather than a primary scorer in New York. OKC added free agent Patrick Patterson this summer and re-signed defensive ace Andre Roberson and may now have the pieces to challenge Golden State in a seven-game series.
  • ESPN’s Kevin Pelton graded the deal, giving the Thunder an A and the Knicks a D. Kanter and McDermott were both defensive liabilities, Pelton states, and the new alignment gives Oklahoma City a small-ball lineup that matches up much better with the Warriors. The Knicks didn’t take on any long-term contracts, but they also didn’t fill any pressing needs unless McDermott develops into a reliable wing scorer. Pelton expects New York to explore the trade market for Kanter before the February deadline.
  • Oklahoma City used two key pieces from the Bulls to pull off today’s deal, and Chicago doesn’t have much in return, writes Scott Krinch of CSNChicago. McDermott and the 2018 second-rounder that was shipped to the Knicks both came to OKC in a February trade that sent Cameron Payne, Joffrey Lauvergne and Anthony Morrow to the Bulls. Lauvergne and Morrow left as free agents over the offseason, and Payne will miss three to four months after foot surgery.
  • Kanter posted a message on Twitter, thanking the fans and management in Oklahoma City and saying, “Please beat the Warriors for me.”

Knicks To Waive Chasson Randle

The Knicks will waive guard Chasson Randle to create a roster opening for the Carmelo Anthony trade to be completed, tweets Shams Charania of The Vertical.

New York was at the roster limit of 20 players before agreeing this afternoon to send Anthony to Oklahoma City in exchange for Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and a draft pick. The Knicks had five non-guaranteed contracts heading into camp and elected to part with Randle.

Parting with Randle won’t cost the Knicks anything, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. The 24-year-old would have been guaranteed $50K if he had remained on the roster through Tuesday.

Randle played for the Knicks and Sixers last season and spent significant time in the G League. He was waived by New York before the season started, then signed two 10-day deals with Philadelphia in January, followed by a long-term contract. However, he was waived less than a month later after appearing in just eight games.

Randle signed with the Knicks in late February and got into 18 games, averaging 5.3 points in 12.5 minutes per night.

Gary Neal Signs With Spanish Team

Veteran shooting guard Gary Neal, who played briefly for the Hawks last season, has reached an agreement in Spain, according to Sportando. Neal will play for Tecnyconta Zaragoza.

Neal appeared in two games for the Hawks after signing a 10-day deal in January. He scored four points in 18 total minutes and wasn’t re-signed. He returned to the G League, first with the Texas Legends, then the Reno Bighorns.

Neal, who will turn 33 next month, played for six teams in six NBA seasons. His best year was 2013/14, when he averaged 10.5 points per game while splitting time with the Bucks and Bobcats.

Knicks Agree To Trade Carmelo Anthony To Thunder

The Knicks have reached an agreement with the Thunder that will send Carmelo Anthony to Oklahoma City, reports Adrian Wojanrowski of ESPN (Twitter links). According to Wojnarowski, New York will receive Doug McDermott and Enes Kanter in the deal, along with a draft pick. Shams Charania of The Vertical (Twitter link) indicates that pick will be the Bulls’ 2018 second-rounder.CarmeloAnthony vertical

The trade call will officially take place Monday, Wojnarowski adds, as Russell Westbrook and Paul George were successful in their lobbying efforts to get Anthony to waive his no-trade clause for the Thunder (Twitter link). Carmelo also has a relationship with top Thunder executive Troy Weaver, who recruited him to Syracuse a decade and a half ago.

Anthony has agreed to waive his $8.1MM trade kicker, since the deal wouldn’t have worked otherwise, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link). Anthony will retain his no-trade clause with the Thunder (Twitter link). Taking on his $26,243,760 salary will increase OKC’s projected luxury tax payment by $12.4MM, up to a total of $27.8MM (Twitter link).

The Knicks were at the maximum of 20 players before the trade, so a roster move will have to be made by Monday in order to make room for the extra incoming player. New York has five non-guaranteed players coming to camp, so one of them will likely be waived.

The Knicks will incur Kanter’s 15% trade bonus of $2.68MM, which pushes his cap hit for this season to $20.56MM (Twitter link). Kanter also has an $18.6MM player option for 2018/19 — his kicker doesn’t apply to that salary since trade bonuses don’t affect team or player option years. As for McDermott, he’s making $3.3MM in the final year of his rookie contract and is eligible to receive an extension until October 16. He’ll be on track to become a restricted free agent next summer if no agreement can be reached this year.

The Thunder obviously made the move with an eye toward winning this season, but it creates a fascinating scenario for the future of the franchise. Anthony, Westbrook and George are all currently eligible to become unrestricted free agents next summer, so this could be a one-year experiment.

Of course, the Thunder currently have an extension offer on the table for Westbrook, and Anthony has a lucrative player option for 2018/19, so there’s no guarantee there will be a mass exodus out of OKC after this season. Still, it would be difficult financially to retain all three players — Marks estimates the cost of keeping all three would bring the Oklahoma City payroll to $157MM with an additional $143MM in taxes (Twitter link).

For the Knicks, it closes a long chapter in their troubled relationship with Anthony, who was hailed as a franchise savior when he was acquired from the Nuggets in 2011. He never delivered the playoff success that was expected and became the target of public criticism from former team president Phil Jackson. Having expressed a desire to go to the Rockets for most of the 2017 offseason, Anthony expanded his list of preferred teams this week, adding Cleveland and Oklahoma City, which allowed the Knicks to get something done.

New York has now fully committed to the rebuilding project that the new management team outlined when it took over. The Knicks were reluctant to trade Anthony to the Cavaliers because they wanted him out of the Eastern Conference, according to TNT’s David Aldridge (Twitter link), although it’s hard to understand why, giving the team’s remote playoff chances. Even though Jackson was dismissed this summer, hard feelings with Carmelo remained and the organization wanted a fresh start (Twitter link).

The trade of Anthony represents the culmination of an eventful offseason that saw many of the East’s best players join new clubs. Anthony is the sixth player from 2017’s Eastern Conference All-Star squad to change teams, following in the footsteps of George, Jimmy Butler, Paul Millsap, Isaiah Thomas, and Kyrie Irving. Anthony, George, Butler, and Millsap all moved over to the Western Conference.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images. Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Atlantic Notes: Embiid, Fultz, Caboclo, Hornacek, Ntilikina

Joel Embiid gave the Sixers a glimpse of the impact he could have on the court last season, averaging 20.2 PPG and 7.8 RPG. However, injuries once again limited Embiid as he appeared in just 31 games due to a torn meniscus in his left knee. During a media lunch. Sixers general manager Bryan Colangelo and coach Brett Brown discussed their oft-injured forward and gave contradicting statements, Mike Sielski of The Philadelphia Inquirer writes.

Brown said that Embiid has yet to play in a five-on-five scenario but also added the team will “soon” know if and when he will do so. Then, Brown and Colangelo refused to give a clearer update on Embiid’s future in terms of his involvement — or lack thereof — in training camp or the preseason. Then, Colangelo provided a statement that contradicted itself within seconds.

“It’s not about being ready for the first practice or the first game,” Colangelo said. “And he will be out there on the first practice and the first game. The question is how much, how little, if at all.”

Embiid is not the only injured Sixer as last year’s first overall pick, Ben Simmons, is also looking to return to full health.

Below you can read more news from the Atlantic Division:

Thomas Robinson Signs To Play In Russia

Former first-round pick from the 2012 NBA Draft, Thomas Robinson, has agreed to a deal to play for Khimki Moscow in Russia, according to basketball journalist David Pick (Twitter link).

Robinson, 26, was selected fifth overall by the Kings in 2012. However, in five NBA seasons, Robinson has played for six teams, including the Kings, Rockets, Blazers, Sixers, Nets, and most recently the Lakers. In 48 games (one starts) in Los Angeles last season, Robinson averaged 5.0 PPG and 4.6 RPG.

Last month, Robinson worked out for the Celtics as the team looked to fill a roster spot, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Robinson told HoopsHype earlier this offseason that he just wanted a chance and that he could be a top-10 rebounder in the NBA.

Robinson joins a Khimki roster that includes former NBA players Alexey Shved, Charles Jenkins, James Anderson, and Tyler Honeycutt. In 2013, Robinson was traded along with Honeycutt and Francisco García to the exchange for Patrick Patterson, Toney Douglas, and Cole Aldrich. Khimki’s roster also features Marko Todorović, the Blazers’ 45th overall pick from 2013, who once was traded to the Rockets in a deal to acquire Robinson.

Carmelo Anthony Considering Adding Portland To Trade List

Just 72 hours before media day, Carmelo Anthony added the Cavaliers and Thunder to the list of teams for which he would waive his no-trade clause. The 12-time NBA All-Star is also “heavily considering” adding the Trail Blazers to the list, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post.

Portland is not a surprising possible destination since Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum have admittedly been in contact with Anthony this offseason. In a recent interview with Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated, Lillard said Anthony “did not seem opposed” to the idea of playing in Portland. However, the Blazers’ point guard is focused on the upcoming season whether Anthony is on the team or not.

“I’m not giving up on anything. I just think I’ve done what I can do. And camp is a few weeks away,” Lillard said. “And you have to focus on getting ready with who we are, plan on going in as we are.”

Meanwhile, a July 16 Instagram post on McCollum’s account features a photoshopped image of Anthony in a Portland uniform.

Anthony, 33, has not played in the Western Conference since he was dealt from the Nuggets as part the blockbuster 2011-trade bringing him to New York. The Trail Blazers went 41-41 last season, sneaking in as the eighth seed in the Western Conference.

After four straight seasons of losing at least 45 games, Anthony is looking to compete for a championship. That goal, however, may be more attainable with the three-time defending Eastern Conference champion Cavaliers or the Thunder, led by reigning Most Valuable Player, Russell Westbrook.

Anthony Adds Cavs, Thunder To Trade List

10:12pm: The Knicks have been informed that the second of the two new teams on Anthony’s list of preferred trade destinations is Oklahoma City, Ian Begley of ESPN tweets. The Thunder, like the Cavs, would need to send at least $21.1MM back in any transaction.

It’s slightly more difficult to imagine a package coming from the Thunder than it is to envision one from the Cavs. Unlike Cleveland, Oklahoma City lacks a no-brainer appealing asset like the 2018 Nets pick.

A notable risk for any team looking to acquire Anthony, Bobby Marks of ESPN writes, is the fact that he could opt into a 2018/19 player option worth $27.9MM. In either Cleveland or Oklahoma City’s case, that could mean one year of paying a 34-year-old Anthony an exorbitant sum months after losing the core of their current teams (all of LeBron James, Russell Westbrook and Paul George can theoretically leave via free agency next summer).

8:08pm: The list of teams that Carmelo Anthony would approve being traded to now includes at least two other teams, one of which is the Cavaliers, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN writes.

The forward has been the subject of trade speculation over the course of the past year but had previously been very selective over the number of teams that he would waive his no-trade clause for.

Earlier today we discussed the fact that Anthony seemed destined to enter training camp with the Knicks after New York failed to find a suitable trade agreement with the Rockets.

Anthony, it’s been reported, had been eager to suit up alongside Chris Paul in Houston and reluctant to consider waiving his clause to appease the Knicks.

Per Wojnarowski, however, when New York’s front office failed to come to terms on a trade with the Rockets, they requested that Anthony’s camp expand their list.

Anthony, nothing but outwardly professional throughout this lingering saga, obliged and added at least two additional teams to his list within the past 10 days.

Wojnarowski writes that the Cavaliers and Knicks have been in touch regarding a possible deal but exact terms or players to be included haven’t been discussed. The Cavs, it’s worth noting, were originally on Anthony’s list last season prior to Houston’s trade to nab Paul earlier this summer.

The Knicks have assembled an intriguing team of young players and are actively seeking to expand their core. It’s said that general manger Scott Perry is looking for a scoring wing to replace Anthony’s production, short-term contracts and draft assets.

While the Cavs do hold Brooklyn’s first-round pick next season, a valuable asset considering the current state of the Nets, they’d have to include several rotation players to accommodate league salary cap rules. As Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets, Cleveland would have to include at least $21.1MM in outgoing contracts to make a deal work.

Atlantic Notes: Raptors, Simmons, Carroll

The Raptors have four players on non-guaranteed deals effectively auditioning for the final two guaranteed slots on their roster, Josh Lewenberg of TSN writes. Given the number of veterans the team lost over the offseason, the individuals who end up in the 14th and 15th spots on the squad could actually see meaningful minutes in 2017/18.

Among those battling for one of the final openings on the lone Canadian team’s roster is Canadian national team forward Kyle Wiltjer. Wiltjer didn’t make much of an impact on the playoff-bound Rockets last season but serves as a potent deep ball threat, not unlike outgoing Raptors forward Patrick Patterson.

Wiltjer will face stiff competition making the Raptors, especially from the versatile K.J. McDaniels who failed to stick with the Nets last season but has otherwise shown promise as an incredibly versatile, Swiss army knife of a forward.

Also vying for the final two spots will be Kennedy Meeks and Alfonzo McKinnie, the latter of whom Lewenberg mentions along with McDaniels to be the ones to watch as training camp begins and the Raptors inch closer to finalizing their roster.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

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