As currently constructed, the New York Knicks are performing rather well through these first 41 games of the 2022-23 season, as they currently hold a sound winning record of 22-18 and reside in the sixth seed out in the Eastern Conference standings.
However, based on recent rumblings it appears the team’s front office is still looking to spruce up its respective talent pool in one way or another.
Perhaps the most buzzed-about route Leon Rose and company could look to embark on in their efforts to bolster Tom Thibodeau’s rotation is by means of the trade market, as there could wind up being several noteworthy names becoming available between now and February 9th’s deadline and, per reports, the Knicks are willing to “swing big.”
One player, in particular, that has been oft mentioned as a potential option for the Knickerbockers this season is sixth-year wing OG Anunoby, who, just recently, was the center of a concocted hypothetical trade by SNY’s David Vertsberger where big man Obi Toppin is seen heading up north to Toronto.
The proposed package reads as follows:
New York Knicks receive
- OG Anunoby
Toronto Raptors receive
- Obi Toppin
- Derrick Rose
- Unprotected first-round pick
Citing the Knicks’ rather lacking wing depth and Toronto’s possible fire-sale looming, Vertsberger went on the make an argument that this particular transaction could truly be worthwhile for both parties involved.
“Acquiring Anunoby would beef up the Knicks’ wing-rotation a degree, while the Raptors could begin collecting assets to build around Scottie Barnes. Toppin can average 20 points without ever holding or dribbling the ball for more than a second, in theory a perfect compliment to a playmaking big like Barnes,” Vertsberger wrote.
In his article, Vertsberger did find himself pulling back a bit on the plausibility of this exact package by admitting that “the asking price for Anunoby will ultimately be higher” than what he’s suggesting considering Anunoby’s age coupled with his career-best production this season.
However, even if the Knicks have to add another pick into the mix to make a trade work he believes the wing could prove to be well worth it.
Knicks Should Offer ‘Just About Anything’ for Anunoby
Vertsberger isn’t the only one out there who believes the New York Knicks should strongly consider offering a considerable amount of assets to try and land OG Anunoby, as Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report listed the wing as a top potential target for the franchise as we inch closer to the 2023 trade deadline.
“Picks, prospects and expiring salaries would all be on the board, and with good reason: Anunoby projects as either a two-way star or at least a two-way player who can star in his role,” Buckley wrote.
“Get him to New York, and he’d immediately be the team’s top defender and one of its better offensive options. Coach Tom Thibodeau would give Anunoby all the minutes he could handle in hopes of elevating this defense. The offense, meanwhile, could have plenty of options depending on which of Julius Randle, Jalen Brunson and RJ Barrett would still be around after the deal.”
Buckley would insinuate within his piece that the odds of Toronto trading Anunoby this season are rather slim, though suggested that, being he’s playing his way towards a new lucrative pay raise in just a few years (has a player option for 2024-25), the front office may not be willing to shell out the cash needed to retain him and, in turn, could run the risk of losing him for nothing in free agency.
With this, to prevent such a situation, there’s is a slim, albeit not completely far-fetched chance that Masai Ujiri and company could shop the rising star this season, and, considering their impressive collection of young prospects (Immanuel Quickley, Obi Toppin, Cam Reddish, etc.) coupled with their treasure trove of draft capital, the Knicks could be a realistic trade partner in this event.
Since coming into the league back in 2017, Anunoby has continuously improved upon his game in virtually every statistical category and, since 2020-21, has posted impressive per-game averages of 17.0 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.7 steals, and just shy of a block on 46.1% shooting from the floor and 37.2% shooting from deep.
A true two-way wing with an exceptional nose for the defensive side of the ball, now in year six Anunoby finds himself amid a career campaign where he’s posting stellar averages of 18.2 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 2.3 steals on 46.5% shooting from the floor.
Should the Knicks end up landing the high-end talent, not only would they be acquiring a player that would seamlessly fit into a Tom Thibodeau-led system, but they could also find themselves landing a legitimate star in the making along the way.
Knicks Could Look to Suns for Help
Toronto isn’t the only team with a viable trade option for New York, as Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley also believes that Phoenix Suns veteran Jae Crowder could be a highly beneficial addition to this Knicks team as they look to embark on a full onfull-on playoff push.
“With Cam Reddish out of the rotation, the Knicks have only Barrett and Quentin Grimes to throw at high-scoring wings. Crowder would give them another option—and, in certain lineups, team with Barrett and Grimes to give this group a small horde of athletic, interchangeable stoppers,” Buckley wrote.
“He may not have a standout skill, and it’s not like he’ll develop one with his 32nd birthday behind him, but he’s a willing defender with a capable jump shot. His toughness could also help this team develop an edge that will be needed for any gritty, grind-it-out postseason games.”
Even though Crowder has been sidelined for 10 months as he and Phoenix mutually search for a buyer for his services, Buckley views the Knicks as a team that could benefit from his contributions.
In Buckley’s opinion, the veteran’s defensive acumen and “capable jump shot” could help the team’s production on both ends of the floor while his established toughness could help Tom Thibodeau’s squad “develop an edge that will be needed for any gritty, grind-it-out postseason games.
Throughout his 10 previous seasons in the association, Crowder has found himself sporting averages of 9.6 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and a steal whilst owning an impressive defensive rating of 107.