The Clippers are paying Mbah a Moute the balance of their midlevel exception, bringing him back to the franchise after a season away with the Houston Rockets.
The Rockets have lost Mbah a Moute, 31, and Trevor Ariza, and plan to ramp up a pursuit of Carmelo Anthony once he becomes available after a trade and buyout, or waive and stretch, with Oklahoma City, league sources told ESPN.
The Thunder could waive-and-stretch Anthony's $27.9 million salary -- saving the franchise $107 million in salary and tax -- within the next seven to 10 days should they be unable to find a trade, league sources said. The Rockets will be a premium consideration for Anthony -- along with the Miami Heat, league sources said.
Houston has lost two of its top rotational small forwards in free agency, including Ariza, who signed a one-year, $15 million deal with the Phoenix Suns. Mbah a Moute played a significant role in helping the Rockets become an elite defensive team.
The Rockets were able to offer Mbah a Moute the $2.4 million veterans minimum.