With ‘Melo, Thunder finally have their Big 3

The Oklahoma City Thunder finalized their trade for Carmelo Anthony on Monday, sending Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and the Chicago Bulls’ 2018 second-round pick to the New York Knicks.

Anthony waived his no-trade clause to join Russell Westbrook and Paul George in Oklahoma City.

Carmelo Anthony Thunder
Carmelo Anthony poses for photos during the Oklahoma City Thunder Media Day on Monday. (Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports)

“Me and Russ became closer and closer over the years,” Anthony said. “He was a big part, a big reason why I wanted to come here. To see his loyalty to this city, to this organization … you know, what he was able to do on the court, I wanted to be a part of that.

“Adding PG was just another reason why I wanted to come here. Our relationship, our friendship, our respect for one another as basketball players was a reason that I wanted to play alongside him and have an opportunity to compete for a championship.”

Anthony had been seeking a trade over the summer to the Houston Rockets so he could team with James Harden and Chris Paul. However, the Knicks and Rockets were unable to find the third team needed to pull a deal together. Anthony reportedly widened his potential destinations recently to include Oklahoma City and Cleveland, and the Knicks and Thunder agreed to the deal over the weekend.

The Knicks said on Friday that Anthony would begin training camp with the team, but would remain open-minded about potential trades.

“This is a deal we feel works for both this franchise and Carmelo,” Knicks president Steve Mills said Monday. “We thank him for his seven seasons in a Knicks uniform and all that he accomplished off the court for the city of New York by using his platform to address social issues.

“We will continue to focus on this team looking forward towards the immediate and long-term future. As we have said recently, this is a new beginning for the New York Knicks.”

Anthony, 33, has two years and more than $54 million remaining on the maximum contract he signed in 2014. The 10-time All-Star was acquired by the Knicks in a blockbuster deal with the Denver Nuggets in 2011. In 14 NBA seasons, he is averaging 24.8 points, 6.6 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game.

“Thank you to All My Fans who supported me through Thick and Thin,” Anthony wrote in a letter to New York on his website. “And those who continued to support The Knicks regardless of the outcome. Thank You to Jim Dolan and the Knicks organization and all the hardworking people that don’t get the credit they deserve. And most importantly, Thank you to the City of New York for allowing me to represent OUR city.”

The 6-foot-11 Kanter has averaged 11.3 points and 6.7 rebounds per game through six NBA seasons. McDermott, 6-8 and 225 pounds, has averaged 8.0 points per game through three seasons.

“We acquired two 25-year-old players in this deal that we can develop, while sticking with our overall strategy of emphasizing youth and athleticism,” Knicks general manager Scott Perry said. “With this trade, we have added scoring and aggressiveness to our frontcourt, and bolstered the team’s perimeter shooting. We are glad to have finalized a trade that made sense for all of us.”

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