Knicks Trade Proposal Bolsters Core With 2-Way Standout OG Anunoby

OG Anunoby Raptors-Nets

Getty Toronto Raptors star OG Anunoby is defended by Kevin Durant during a game against the Brooklyn Nets.

Entering Tuesday night’s bout with the Los Angeles Lakers, the New York Knicks are about as good as they have been since their improbable march to the NBA Playoffs in 2021. Still, with a massive letdown in Brooklyn fresh in fans’ minds and the team’s record sitting at 27-24 on the campaign, one would be hard-pressed to label the Knicks a serious challenger in the Eastern Conference.

Clearly, New York could use another steady hand alongside prized free-agent signing Jalen Brunson, All-Star big man Julius Randle and a still-developing RJ Barrett. So, it comes as no surprise that the club has been linked to Toronto Raptors forward OG Anunoby ahead of the Association’s February 9 trade deadline.

And SportsNet New York’s Ian Begley and The Athletic’s Shams Charania have both reported that Knicks president Leon Rose would be willing to part with multiple draft assets in an effort to get Anunoby to the Big Apple.

Although the Raptors would almost certainly push for more in the negotiating process, here’s what such a deal might look like for the Knicks:

The Trade Pitch That Would Make OG Anunoby a Member of the New York Knicks

Unlike the Knicks decision-makers of yore, Rose has amassed an impressive collection of first- and second-round picks from other teams. And if his refusal to enter “kitchen sink” territory while trying to land Donovan Mitchell over the summer is any indication, those assets won’t be dealt willy-nilly.

If the Knicks want Anunoby, though, they’re going to have to come hard ahead of the deadline. The following trade proposal could meet that requirement:

  • Toronto Raptors receive G/F Evan Fournier, a first-round pick in 2023 (via DAL), an unprotected first-round pick in 2024 and a second-round pick in 2025 (via DET)
  • New York Knicks receive F OG Anunoby

The inclusion of an unprotected pick here represents a rare concession for an asset-collecting GM, but the Knicks obviously aren’t just getting Anunoby in this scenario — they’re also undoing one of their biggest financial faux pas of the last few years: the decision to give Fournier (who has become increasingly one-dimensional and has barely sniffed the court in 2022-23) four years and $73 million two summers ago.

At the same time, Fournier could become a nice trade asset for Toronto next season as there’s a team option on the final $19 million on his deal in 2024-25.

Where the here and now are concerned, Anunoby would be a major score for Rose and Co. In 45 games this season, he’s averaging 16.9 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists and a league-best 2.1 steals per contest. He’s also posting super-solid 46-37-82 shooting splits.

In addition to Anunoby starting on the wing in NYC, it’s not hard to envision him playing next to Randle as a power forward in small-ball lineups. At the same time, he has the defensive chops to scoot down and defend backcourt players as well, a skill that would undoubtedly put a gleam in the eye of Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau.

Raptors Could Become Big Sellers at the Deadline

Their current underperformance notwithstanding, the Raptors really aren’t long removed from a 48-34 record and a top-five conference finish in 2021-22. And with all of the club’s key pieces still in place, one could definitely make the argument that Toronto should run it back next season.

Regardless, the vultures are circling amid the Raptors’ 23-29 record and rumblings that second-year phenom Scottie Barnes is actually regressing. According to Charania, the Raptors have given them reason to hang around, too.

“Because of the Raptors’ disappointing season thus far … rival teams have been informed that the franchise will make a decision about being a buyer or seller – or standing pat – near deadline day, according to league sources,” Charania reported.

That’s not to say, though, that Raptors architect Masi Ujiri will be giving anything away.

“The Raptors surely have high price tags on their core pieces, such as [Fred] VanVleet and Anunoby,” Charania wrote.

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