Knicks could make bold $245 million power play on elite small forward this offseason

May 8, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks forward OG Anunoby (8) drives past Indiana Pacers forward Obi Toppin (1) in the third quarter during game two of the second round for the 2024 NBA playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks may know the price it’ll take to retain their star small forward OG Anunoby this summer. Anunoby could hit unrestricted free agency this offseason, which will raise his value in the open market and in turn, his cost to stay in New York.

The Knicks will have to pay up to retain OG Anunoby

NBA: Miami Heat at New York Knicks
Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

According to Sean Deveney of Heavy Sports, the Knicks could meet the former 2023 NBA steals leader in his ballpark of $35 million annually or offer him near-max dollars ahead of the 2024-25 season:

“If you’re the Knicks, you’re hoping this thing tops out around $35 million a year,” one NBA executive told Heavy Sports. “Four years, $140 million. And, in a vacuum, that’s probably where it would land. But OG just needs one other team to get involved and drive up that price. Then you’re going from $35 million a year to $45 million a year and maybe all the way up to a max.”

Knicks: Did OG Anunoby produce like a $35-$45 million player in 2023-24?

May 2, 2024; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; New York Knicks forward OG Anunoby (8) looks on from the bench during a timeout in the first half against the Philadelphia 76ers in game six of the first round for the 2024 NBA playoffs at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Only 35 players will make $35 million or more next season. Moreover, $45 million per year would put him in the top 15. He would be one of only six players in the $35 million-plus bracket who have not made at least one All-Star team and the only one in the top 15 without an All-NBA Nod to his name.

The British wing was a critical component of the Knicks’ success in 2023-24. He put up 14.7 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 1.4 steals per night on 48.9 percent shooting from the field and 38.2 percent from the three-point range. He also posted a +390 plus/minus on the campaign, which was one of the best markers across the league.

Knicks’ front office has a tough decision to make with Anunoby’s UFA status impending

New York Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau talks to forward OG Anunoby (8) during the fourth quarter against the Chicago Bulls at Madison Square Garden
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Knicks went 20-4 with Anunoby in the lineup. He changed the fabric of the team after being traded for RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley midseason. As great as he was individually and impactful toward their winning efforts, Knicks president Leon Rose and the front office will have to determine whether or not the 26-year-old is worth near-max money, especially with the team expected to chase another All-Star player to pair with Jalen Brunson in New York.

The Knicks have an excess of $145 million in cap space for next season with roughly $30 million in expiring deals excluding Anunoby’s. The open market will likely determine what Anunoby’s price is, and if the Knicks are willing to capitulate to it or find a replacement piece to approximate his value elsewhere.

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