Carmelo Anthony decided that a foray into free agency wouldn’t be cost effective — and knows how angry he just made a lot of Thunder fans.
The 34-year-old veteran forward decided against opting out of his player option and will stick with Oklahoma City for a $27.9 million salary in the 2018-19 season.
Anthony faced a deadline of midnight Eastern time on Saturday night to decline his option, and he chose to remain on his current deal. Anthony is coming off the worst season of his career, and his contract handcuffs the Thunder. He appeared to address his contract critics on Instagram.
“Oh You Mad, Huh? 😂” he wrote Saturday night. “‘Take A Step Back, Evaluate, What Is Important, And Enjoy Life’ #STAYME7O.”
A chance exists that Oklahoma City will pursue a trade or attempt to work out a buyout with Anthony, who griped openly about his role last season.
According to ESPN, the Thunder would have one of the highest payrolls in NBA history if they are successful in their attempt to re-sign free agent forward Paul George to a max contract.
In 2017-18, his first season with the Thunder after seven high-scoring but frustrating years with the Knicks, Anthony averaged a career-low 16.2 points. He started all 78 regular-season games in which he played, but his average of 32.1 minutes also represented a career low.
During Oklahoma City’s six-game loss to the Jazz in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs, Anthony averaged just 11.8 points. He played only 25 and 26 minutes the final two games.
The 2012-13 NBA scoring champion and a 10-time All-Star, Anthony owns a career average of 24.1 points. The Syracuse product was the third-overall selection in the 2003 draft by the Nuggets, and he played 7 1/2 seasons in Denver before he was traded to New York in February 2011.