In the quest to acquire a star this off-season, the New York Knicks may need to consider parting ways with young wing RJ Barrett. Despite a disappointing 2022–23 season, Barrett remains a promising prospect in management’s eyes, especially after signing a four-year, $107 million extension.
Evaluating RJ Barrett’s Worth and Potential Trade Prospects
To accommodate another significant contract, the Knicks may need to offload a high-priced player. Barrett, due to his youth and potential, could be the ideal candidate. The Knicks have been reportedly considering Toronto Raptors’ defensive maestro OG Anunoby as a possible acquisition.
“The Knicks are in a good position to really look at using the picks they have to get a wing defender who can solidify the rest of the roster,” an Eastern Conference GM told Heavy Sports’ Sean Deveney. “And I’d look out for Detroit. Dwane Casey [who moved to the Pisont’s front office] was OG’s first coach. They are going to look to get out of their rebuilding mode sooner rather than later, and they have the assets to do it. New Orleans is in the same boat. The Warriors would have trouble making it happen, but I know some of them on that staff really love OG.”
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OG Anunoby: A Solid Addition to the Knicks?
Anunoby, aged 25, has had an impressive season with Toronto. Across 67 games, the small forward has averaged 16.8 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 1.9 steals, shooting .476 from the field and .385 from downtown. He attempted an average of 5.5 shots from deep per game, hitting 2.1 with a .556 effective field goal percentage. A significant improvement in his free-throw percentage, .838 up from his .744 career average, adds to his value.
With the Knicks requiring an above-average defender and scorer, Anunoby could be an ideal match for coach Tom Thibodeau’s strategies. His scoring efficiency and ability to spread the floor offer more perimeter options for the team.
While the Knicks have hoped for Barrett to evolve his game in a similar manner, his shooting stats of .434 from the field and .310 from downtown raise concerns, making him a potential trade option.
Balancing Talent and Complementing the Existing Roster
If Knicks’ President Leon Rose manages to entice a superstar scorer to join the team, he might need to compromise with a slightly lesser talent that can complement Julius Randle and Jalen Brunson more effectively.
Anunoby, with his youth and potential, seems to be a perfect fit. While he may not represent the top-tier talent needed to propel the team further in the postseason, his role can’t be underestimated.
Currently, Anunoby is under a four-year, $72 million deal, due to earn $18.6 million for the upcoming season. However, he has a player option at $19.9 million for the 2024–25 season. If the Knicks choose this path, they must be prepared for the possibility of Anunoby opting out for a more lucrative contract. On the other hand, Barrett is secured for the next four seasons with an average annual salary of $26.75 million.