San Antonio Spurs News

San Antonio Spurs: Carmelo Anthony-Thunder trade’s impact on SAS

By Rob Wolkenbrod
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 11: Carmelo Anthony attends Black Ops Basketball Session at Life Time Athletic At Sky on September 11, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Shareif Ziyadat/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 11: Carmelo Anthony attends Black Ops Basketball Session at Life Time Athletic At Sky on September 11, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Shareif Ziyadat/Getty Images)
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The Oklahoma City Thunder traded for Carmelo Anthony on Saturday. How will this impact the San Antonio Spurs?

The San Antonio Spurs already had to deal with a Russell Westbrook-Paul George combination on the Oklahoma City Thunder, which made them a top-tier team before the 2017-18 NBA season. However, they added another significant piece on Saturday.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Carmelo Anthony is on his way to the Oklahoma City Thunder. The New York Knicks traded him for Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott, and a 2018 second-round pick.

Westbrook and George reportedly played a major part in Anthony waiving his no-trade clause to join the Thunder.

New York has agreed to a deal to send Carmelo Anthony to OKC for Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and a draft pick, league sources tell ESPN.

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 23, 2017

Sources: OKC will send New York a 2018 second-round pick via Chicago.

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 23, 2017

Russell Westbrook and Paul George played an immense part in getting Anthony to waive no-trade for OKC, league sources tell ESPN.

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 23, 2017

That means there’s a new “Big 3” in town, with Oklahoma City sporting one. That puts them against the four-headed monster in Golden State, the top-end backcourt duo of Houston, the rising stars of Minnesota and the Kawhi Leonard-led Spurs. In other words, the race for the Western Conference just loaded up even more — as if it wasn’t full already.

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For the Spurs, the Thunder’s acquisition of Melo only makes them a bigger roadblock to get past. That goes for the regular-season standings and the playoffs. It’s three elite offensive players to defend. Leonard and Danny Green can match two of them, but the team doesn’t host another elite one-on-one defender in the starting lineup. So, the potential is there someone to have a matchup nightmare, whether it’s Patty Mills, Pau Gasol or LaMarcus Aldridge.

Look for San Antonio to go small against the Thunder, as well. That may mean Rudy Gay at the four, while Aldridge and Gasol split the five, to match the potential offensive output (three 20-point per game scorers).

A move like this also makes Oklahoma City the latest sexy pick in the West to finish near the top, much like the Rockets, after the Chris Paul trade. That may be updated in ESPN’s next preseason prediction, if they do another.

Only on Friday did Warriors star Draymond Green mention the Spurs as the toughest challenge to Golden State. Does this hold true?

Must Read: 25 greatest players in Spurs history

There’s plenty to wonder about this deal, at least for its impact on the Spurs. Will it move the needle in the West?

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