ATLANTA—On Thursday, the Atlanta Hawks reportedly swung a momentous three-way trade with the Thunder and 76ers, acquiring future Hall of Famer Carmelo Anthony, forward Justin Anderson and a lottery-protected first-round pick in 2022.
On the way out, Atlanta will be shipping Mike Muscala to Philadelphia ... and point guard Dennis Schroder to Oklahoma City.
It's a convoluted deal, for sure, full of twists and turns.
Namely, the Hawks will reportedly waive Anthony (10-time All-Star) in the coming days, while absorbing his soon-to-be-expiring contract of roughly $27.9 million; but at the same time, Atlanta won't be responsible for the remainder of Schroder's contract—three years and approximately $46.5 million.
Anthony, in turn, will soon be free to sign with another club. Perhaps the Lakers, Rockets or Blazers.
So, what does this mean for the 2018-19 Hawks? Given Anthony's massive salary, Atlanta likely won't consummate any more blockbuster trades this summer. As such, looking at the current composition of the roster, 30 wins might represent a must-win scenario for the club.
But it's not about short-term goodness for the rebuilding Hawks. The name of the game still involves long-term development through the draft—along with the occasional big push during free agency.
Speaking of which, the franchise could have as much as $49 million in practical cap space next summer—according to Spotrac.com—coinciding with the glut of NBA stars heading for free agency: Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Karl-Anthony Towns, Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler, Kemba Walker, Kristaps Porzingis, Klay Thompson and former Hawks star Al Horford.
In the interim, Atlanta will have to get by with a point-guard tandem of rookie Trae Young and veteran Jeremy Lin.
As for Schroder (first-round pick in 2013), Thursday's trade marks the quiet end to a solid career in Atlanta. For the previous two seasons, Schroder averaged 18.6 points, 6.3 assists, 3.1 rebounds and one steal as a full-time starter at point guard.
With the Thunder, Schroder has no chance of supplanting starter Russell Westbrook at point. But within small-ball lineups, the 24-year-old Germany native should wreak havoc as a third option, when grouped with Westbrook and Paul George.
The trade also appeases Schroder in this respect: Back in May, he publicly stated his desire to play for a championship-contending club; and he'll certainly get that chance in Oklahoma City (three-year average of 50 wins).