After playing the last seven seasons in New York, the Knicks have agreed to trade the 33-year-old Anthony to the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Knicks will receive Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and a draft pick, a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press.
The person spoke with The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the trade had not been announced.
In early August, Anthony came home to Baltimore to help host The Basketball Tournament finals at Coppin State and to kick off community service activities around the city. He wouldn’t discuss specific trade rumors at the time.
“It’s been an emotional roller coaster,” he said when asked to describe the past 12 months since he won a third Olympic gold medal last summer in Rio de Janeiro and became the subject of trade rumors. "But I’ve had to find peace, to come to peace with myself and the situation I’m in. Kind of try to find happiness again. I think I lost that a little bit, but I’m finding it, and it feels good.”
The trade came a day after the Knicks said they expected Anthony to be at training camp Monday. But the Knicks finally found a trade partner and it puts the 6-foot-8 forward into a loaded Oklahoma City lineup that includes NBA MVP Russell Westbrook and Paul George, who was acquired from Indiana this summer.
Anthony will see his old teammates soon: The Knicks open the regular season at Oklahoma City on Oct. 19.
He agreed to waive his no-trade clause to complete the deal, which was first reported by The Vertical. It saves the Knicks and their longtime star from what could have been an awkward reunion next week.
Though he averaged more than 20 points per game for the 14th straight season, he endured one of his most difficult years in 2016-17. At 31-51, the Knicks never sniffed playoff contention, and their front office became the laughingstock of the NBA.
Fans lashed out at Anthony, saying the franchise needed to move on from him and bemoaning the no-trade clause that perhaps prevented team president Phil Jackson — since fired — from dealing the superstar forward. Anthony’s separation from his wife of seven years, La La, also became tabloid fodder, though the couple has remained married.
He had long maintained that he wanted to stay in New York, but the constant losing and a chance to play with a talented lineup convinced him it was finally time to go. He has two years and $54 million left on his contract.
After making the postseason each of his first 10 seasons, he has been on the sidelines the last four years and said at the end of last season his priority was a chance to win. He wouldn't have that in New York, where the Knicks are emphasizing youth and have little proven talent with which to surround Anthony.
But he is close with Westbrook and George and should fit in nicely. He can possibly settle into the spot-up shooter role he's played in the Olympics, where he's won a record three gold medals and is the career scoring leader for the U.S. men.