Knicks Urged to Acquire Raptors Stars in Shake-Up

julius randle og anunoby

Getty Could Randle and Anunoby become teammates?

The New York Knicks are expected to be buyers at the trade deadline as they push for the playoffs. Meanwhile, north of the border, the Toronto Raptors are on the outside of the playoff picture looking in.

The two teams could wind up being good trade partners ahead of the February 9 deadline, according to Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley, who wrote that Toronto’s O.G. Anunoby and Gary Trent Jr. could help the Knicks (27-23; seventh place in the Eastern Conference) get over the hump and out of the play-in tournament.

“The Knicks could use a two-way weapon like [Anunoby] on the wing,” Buckley wrote in a story published January 26. He had a similar assessment of Trent: “The Knicks could use his two-way punch on the perimeter.”

But both players are likely to have other suitors. Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer reported on January 26 on “The JD Bunkis Podcast” that the Phoenix Suns and the Los Angeles Lakers — in addition to the Knicks — are interested in Trent. And one team has already offered three first-round picks for Anunoby, according to a January 23 story by The Toronto Star’s Bruce Anthony.

Gary Trent & O.G. Anunoby to the New York Knicks?

With Evan Fournier out of the Knicks’ rotation for personal reasons, shooting is a position of need for the team, and that’s where Trent could step in. Trent, now in his fifth season in the league, is averaging 18.6 points per game on 44% shooting. He also makes an average of almost three 3-pointers a game.

At 24 years old, Trent still has room to grown, even if “his ceiling probably stops a level or two below stardom,” Buckley wrote.

Even if he’s not likely to blossom into a star, the Knicks would “have the next few months to decide whether he’s worth keeping around for the long haul,” Buckley wrote. “If he is, New York would have expanded its nucleus. If he isn’t, his [likely] impending free agency should at least help keep his trade cost under control.”

The three-year contract that Trent signed with the Raptors in 2021 has a player option after this season worth nearly $19 million. If he declines the option this summer, he would become a free agent. If he picks up the option, whoever trades for him would be on the hook for his final year of the deal.

Would OG Anunoby Become the Final Puzzle Piece?

Anunoby is a 25-year-old two-way wing, and his versatility is something teams around the league value. Buckley wrote that he could become the final puzzle piece for the Knicks and that they should look into pursuing him if they aren’t already.

“If New York isn’t in the bidding war already, it should dive in head-first,” he wrote. “If you believe in Anunoby’s upside, you can picture him being the final puzzle piece who puts it all together for the Knicks.”

Anunoby is averaging a career high in points this season, averaging 17.3 PPG, and his “defense is suberb,” Anthony, of the Star, said. The Raptors are 22-27 and in 12th place in East and out of the play-in tournament.

“His salary is easy to move or pair with another contract; he could fit easily into a number of teams,” Anthony wrote. “And he would bring back a lot.”

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