Oklahoma City Thunder: The First Ever NBA Team With $300 Million In Salary And Luxury Tax

By Fitzgerald Cecilio
on Jul 05, 2018 10:11 AM EDT
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The Oklahoma City Thunder made history as they became the first team in the NBA annals to top $300 million in salaries and luxury tax.

The Thunder reached the mark after signing backup point guard Raymond Felton to a one-year deal worth $2.4 million. As of now, Bobby Marks of ESPN said the Thunder have $150 million in luxury tax.

Recently, the Thunder signed Paul George to a four-year, $137 million deal, center Nerlens Noel to a two-year contract worth $3.47 million and Jerami Grant to a three-year pact worth $27 million.

The Thunder are already saddled with salaries of Westbrook ($35.4 million), Carmelo Anthony ($27.9 million), Steven Adams ($24.2 million) and Andre Roberson ($10 million) for next season.

Also under contract for next season are Alex Abrines ($5.5 million), Patrick Patterson ($5.5 million), Kyle Singler ($4.99 million), Terrance Ferguson ($2.1 million), and Dakari Johnson ($1.4 million).

Carmelo Anthony Could Be Traded

One way to bring the team's luxury tax bill is to waive Anthony, who decided to stay with the Thunder after exercising the $27.9 million option on his contract.

Spotrac says if the Thunder waives Anthony, they will save around $17.1 million in cap space and around $90 million in luxury tax payment if they decide to replace him with a player with a minimum salary.

Last season, Anthony averaged a career-low 16.2 points, 6.5 boards, and 3.0 assists in 78 starts for the Thunder. In the playoffs, Anthony's production dropped further as he averaged just 11.8 points as they lost to the Utah Jazz in the first round.

Despite his meager output, Anthony insists that he will not play off the bench next season for the Thunder, who acquired him via trade from the New York Knicks last season in exchange for Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott, and a 2018 draft pick.

"I'm not sacrificing no bench role. So that's out of the question," said Anthony, who has started all 1,054 games in his NBA career. A 3rd round pick by the Denver Nuggets in 2003, Anthony is averaging 24.1 points in his career.

Felton To Back Up Westbrook Again

Last season, Felton served as a backup to Russell Westbrook, averaging 6.9 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 5.4 assists in 82 games. Felton is a 13-year veteran, having played for the Charlotte Hornets, Denver Nuggets, New York Knicks, Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Clippers and the Thunder.

Noel, for his part, could serve as a backup to Adams. Noel was a 1st round pick by the New Orleans Pelicans in 2013 but was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers on Draft day.

Noel was a dependable big man in his first three years in the league, but his production with the Dallas Mavericks dropped. Last season, Noel played just 30 games for the Mavericks, averaging 4.4 points and 5.6 boards.

Photo: Keith Allison | Flickr 

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