The future trajectory of this New York Knicks team looks to be heading upwards, as they find themselves gearing up for their second playoff berth in a three year span and seem to have a quality core foundation already set with the likes of Julius Randle, Jalen Brunson, and RJ Barrett leading the charge.
That said, to say this club is ready to contend for an NBA Championship is still a bit of a stretch. There remain several holes present within the team’s lineup that could use for some filling, though perhaps a recently proposed trade by Bleacher Report could help them inch closer to shoring up any remaining major weaknesses.
In a piece published Thursday, writer Zach Buckley suggested that the Knicks should consider re-entering into trade pursuits for Toronto Raptors budding star OG Anunoby, and believes one trade package, in specific, could be enough to get a deal done.
Knicks receive: OG Anunoby
Raptors receive: Evan Fournier, Quentin Grimes, and two first-round picks
A two-way talent with title experience, OG Anunoby was a prized target for Leon Rose and company heading into this year’s NBA trade deadline and, in Buckley’s eyes, he should still be viewed as a player who could help “boost” their pursuit of a title as soon as next season.
Through 62 games played in 2022-23, the wing finds himself posting impressive averages of 16.9 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 1.9 steals per game on 47.6% shooting from the floor and 38.8% shooting from distance.
Knicks Including Quentin Grimes Could Entice Raptors
Trade talks were rumored to have fallen apart between the Knicks and Raptors when it came to the protections being placed upon New York’s proposed outbound draft assets.
Assuming New York still is interested, however, Buckley seems to believe that if they were to chase a trade for the 25-year-old this summer, adding sophomore guard Quentin Grimes into the mix could prove to be enough for Toronto to finally pull the trigger on shipping out their sixth-year wing.
“No, the idea of the Knicks trading for O.G. Anunoby isn’t totally original. They reportedly chased him hard at the deadline.
‘There were rumblings the Knicks talked to the Raptors about Evan Fournier, and I think it was three first-round picks for O.G. Anunoby, but talks didn’t go far,’ HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto reported in March.
Maybe Toronto would change its tune if one of those picks was replaced by an actual on-court contributor like Quentin Grimes, who boasts some really intriguing three-and-D skills and is three years younger than Anunoby.
If the Raptors get on board, it’s a no-brainer for the Knicks. Anunoby is the wing stopper who could take this defense to the next level, and he’d add shot-making plus a pinch of creation on the offensive end,” Buckley wrote.
While it’s difficult to believe that this front office that refused to include Quentin Grimes in trade talks for a legitimate perenial All-Star in Donovan Mitchell last offseason would now offer him up in a deal for a less-proven OG Anunoby, Buckley likely has a point when suggesting that his inclusion could be more intruiging to the Raptors.
Through 66 games played and 61 starts this season, per 100 possesions the 22-year-old is posting 17.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 1.1 steals on 45.7% shooting from the floor and 37.6% shooting from deep.
Julius Randle Could Miss Star of Playoffs for Knicks
After falling to the ground in agony in the second quarter against the Miami Heat Wednesday night and being ruled out for the rest of the contest, All-Star Julius Randle has been diagnosed with a sprained left ankle.
With this, the big man will be re-evaluated in two weeks, which is a massive blow when considering that there is just over a week remaining in the regular season, with the playoffs soon to follow.
Though initial hopes were that Randle could make his way back to the hardwood sooner rather than later, it appears there’s a real risk that he could miss a significant part of the upcoming postseason as Sports Injury Analyst Dr. Evan Jeffries noted in the comments section of a recent Shams Charania Tweet on the injury that the power forward could be expected to miss two to six weeks of action.
Prior to his ankle injury, Julius Randle was having himself an iron man-esque season for the Knicks, as he hadn’t missed a signle game all year. Through 77 games played, the two-time All-Star has posted 25.1 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 4.1 assists on 45.9% shooting from the field.