Reports are that the New York Knicks are open to making some shakeups to their talent pool via mid-season endeavors, and, should they look to the trade market, one NBA executive believes that a deal with the Toronto Raptors could provide the franchise with perhaps the best bang for their buck, so to speak.
When speaking with Heavy Sports’ NBA Insider Sean Deveney, an Eastern Conference exec discussed the concept of possible trades Leon Rose and company could be gearing up to make at some point during the year and one potential scenario would see the Knickerbockers land 25-year-old rising star forward, OG Anunoby.
The meat of the proposed deal reads as follows:
New York Knicks receive:
- OG Anunoby
Toronto Raptors receive:
- Immanuel Quickley
- Obi Toppin
- Evan Fournier
- Draft compensation
While the executive did note that the 12-11 Raptors “aren’t there yet” when it comes to the concept of selling off such a key starter, considering their reigning Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes plays virtually the same position, moving the sixth-year veteran to better fill out the rotation and bolster their draft stock could, in theory, prove to be a beneficial course of action.
“The strategy has not changed, obviously—the goal is to collect picks and flip them into a deal that brings back a star, a big-time wing player. If Toronto wanted to move off OG Anunoby to make way for Scottie Barnes, the Knicks would be in line for him, you know, with Quickley and Toppin and Fournier plus picks,” the exec told Deveney.
Third-year guard Immanuel Quickley is already someone who, according to a November 18 report by The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the front office is already “willing” to move on from while there are legitimate fears that power forward Obi Toppin could wind up forcing his way out of the Big Apple at some point down the road.
Should the two of them already be viewed as expendable by the Knicks, perhaps packaging them together for an established talent like Anunoby could prove to be a worthwhile move for the franchise, especially if they can end up ridding themselves of the remaining three years, $55.8 million left on Evan Fournier’s deal in the process.
Anunoby Could Be a Great Fit for Knicks
While even the executive stated in his sit-down with Heavy Sports that fans could very easily wind up having “a meltdown” if the front office were to trade Immanuel Quickley and, especially, Obi Toppin, for a returning talent like OG Anunoby it could wind up working out quite well in the end for New York.
Despite being less than a year older than Toppin (25 compared to 24), the Raptors’ stud already has six years of experience — one in which he netted an NBA Championship — under his belt and would be a reliable staple within the Knicks’ starting rotation right upon his arrival.
Since entering the league back in 2017, Anunoby has continuously gotten better in virtually every statistical category and, over the last three seasons, has posted impressive per-game averages of 17.1 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.7 steals, and just shy of a block on 46.4% shooting from the floor and 37.4% shooting from deep.
Through 23 games played in 2022-23, it’s clear that the forward has once again taken another step closer to stardom as he’s posting career-best averages of 19.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and a whopping 2.3 blocks on 48.4% shooting from the field.
With his 6-foot-7 frame coupled with his proven perimeter scoring skills (a career 37% 3-point shooter) Anunoby can slot in anywhere from the two down to the four while his defensive excellence and 7-foot-2 wingspan allows him to realistically cover anyone from the one down to the five.
With all things considered, even though both Immanuel Quickley and Obi Toppin are revered amongst the Knicks’ fanbase, should their inclusion in an outbound package be enough to land a stellar two-way talent like OG Anunoby, Leon Rose may have no other choice than to pull the trigger.
Knicks Coaching Change Unlikely
Despite their early struggles and the pleas from the majority of the fanbase to see a coaching change, it appears that no such shakeup is likely to happen during the season.
In a recent sit-down with Heavy Sports, an anonymous Eastern Conference executive stated that, if anything, Tom Thibodeau and the New York Knicks could mutually agree to part ways come the conclusion of this year’s campaign.
“It doesn’t look like they have a clear next-guy-up if they fire Thibs. Johnnie Bryant would probably take over but that is a big job for him to step into. But they won’t fire Thibs during the season, that would be a tough thing to do,” the executive told Deveney.
“Leon and Thibs are close—they might not agree on everything but they’re close. If it is obvious Thibs is not the guy for the job after this year, you’ll probably see both sides willing to move on.”
Through three seasons with Thibodeau at the helm, the Knicks have gone on to accumulate an overall record of 89-89 and have qualified for the postseason once.
In 2022-23, they find themselves sitting as the 10th seed in the Eastern Conference standings with a record of 11-13.