A trade for Toronto’s OG Anunoby wouldn’t come as a shock, as there have been rumors for over a year, and many other teams have expressed interest.
But what was surprising was the timing of this Dec. 30 signing and the catch the Raptors got back. After years of seemingly indecision, the Raptors made a move and the Knicks paid a premium for a player on an expiring contract.
Who won and who lost in this trade? Let’s break it all down.
It starts with the details of the deal itself.
In New York you get: OG Anunoby, Precious Achiuwa, Malachi Flynn
In Toronto, you get: Immanuel Quickley, RJ Barrett, 2024 second-round pick (via Detroit, likely pick 31st or 32nd)
(Both teams also produced minor trade exceptions.)
Winner: OG Anunoby
Anunoby was going to get paid no matter what happened. He was set to be a free agent (worth at least $12 million more per year on the open market, so he plans to opt out of the $19.9 million he’s owed next season) and had a team to pay him. .
If anything, Anunubiy is an opportunistic winner in this deal. He wasn’t a perfect fit for the Raptors, with his usage decreasing each season as Scottie Barnes took on a larger role (not surprisingly, Anunoby was a great talent off the ball). However, he was unable to become the shot creator the Raptors had hoped for. Combine that with Pascal Siakam carrying the ball, and Anunoby was under pressure in Toronto.
He would be a better fit in the Knicks offense. His shooting will be needed there, and he won’t be asked for much shot creation next to Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle (the offense will run through them). Anunoby will fit better in a brighter spotlight, which will be good for his career and his next paycheck.
Lukewarm Winner: New York Knicks
New York didn’t lose the trade, they got the best player in the trade. Anunoby is an elite on-ball defender, works well off the ball on the wing, is a more capable shooter than Barrett, and should fit like a puzzle piece next to Brunson. In the Eastern Conference, where the Knicks’ playoff berth is at stake, Anunoby’s defensive issues will put him up against a combination of Jayson Tatum, Jimmy Butler, Tyrese Maxey, Damian Lillard, and Donovan Mitchell (among others).
The Knicks also kept the powder dry by not giving up any first-round picks. If a superstar becomes available via trade this summer (or anytime), they’ll still be at the forefront with a strong offer.
But letting Quickley go hurts — it’s not radical to think he’ll be the best player in this trade three years from now. Would New York have been better off trading up Barrett and a first-round pick (plus salary filler) for Anunoby and keeping Quickley? Would Toronto do something like that?
And even with the addition of Achiuwa (and Flynn, if he can break into the rotation), the Knicks’ bench has gotten even worse. There’s a lot more at stake for Quentin Grimes and Josh Hart right now.
Winner: Immanuel Quickley
Like many players around the league, Quickley seemed caught off guard by the trade.
As mentioned above, the best player in this trade today is OG Anunoby. It’s safe to say that Immanuel Quickley will answer that question in a few seasons.
Tom Thibodeau didn’t seem to fully trust Quickley, for reasons that frustrated and perplexed Knicks fans. It’s not like Thibs buried him deep on the bench, but while the New York coach had faith in Barrett, Quickley deserved more points than he was getting, especially in tense moments of the game. .
Now, Quickley is trying to get all the points he can handle. And for those who think the Knicks overpaid in this trade, that’s essentially a vote of confidence in Quickley. The guard had an opportunity.
Loser: Knicks fans
Quickly is a fan favorite. It’s easy to sympathize with and root for this overlooked and underutilized guy. Now, Knicks fans will see him develop as he goes to Toronto and joins a roster that needs his exact skillset. That would be a shock to the gut, especially if his game continues to develop.
Losers: 76ers, Pistons, other teams considering Anunoby as a free agent target.
This offseason’s free agent (or potential trade) class continues to shrink. There was a time when teams were hoping they might get Giannis Antetokounmpo (who signed a contract extension with the Bucks) or maybe Joel Embiid (who seems happy right now). Then there was a tier of potential free agents, and Anunoby was at or near the top of the team’s list. I might as well cancel him now. There’s no way the Knicks would throw this much money at Toronto without a guarantee from Anunoby and his camp that he’ll re-sign in New York (there are rumors that it might come at a discount, but we’d believe it) right) ).
Winner: Toronto Raptors
This is not about the details of this transaction. They have finally decided on a direction. Looks like there’s a plan. After letting Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet walk free, leaning on a three-forward rotation for too long to work, and with a 12-20 team in need of a new direction, the Raptors needed a new direction. I chose the direction. That’s the beginning.
Whether or not they win this particular deal is up in the air. It’s too early to judge Toronto. Here’s why: 1) Depends on how Quickly develops. 2) This is not an isolated trade. The Raptors are rebuilding and have made it clear that this will be Scottie Barnes’ team. That means Pascal Siakam will be on the move. What they get in the final deal will seal the deal.
That being said, I see a path forward for Toronto. Start Quickley at the point next to Barnes (which means benching Dennis Schroder), put Barrett at No. 3, Siakam at No. 4 and Jakob Poeltl at No. 3 for now. put it on. We’re down to five guys, and all of a sudden, this is a very good team, and it’s coming together better than what we’ve seen in Toronto this season. Quickley and Barnes should thrive next to each other.
Also, acquiring Detroit’s second-round pick, who is essentially a late first-round pick, would be a good acquisition for Toronto in this trade.
Winner: CAA conspiracy theorist
Leon Rose resigned from his position as president of power company CAA to become president of the Knicks. Since then, he has hired Thibodeau to represent CAA and acquired CAA player Jalen Brunson as a free agent. This season, he has to sign a new contract with Anunoby, and…you guessed it, he’s a client of CAA.