Knicks seemingly prioritizing star defensive forward over three-time All-Star in 2024 offseason

Jan 15, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks forward OG Anunoby (8) celebrates with forward Julius Randle (30) after a basket against the Orlando Magic during the first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks have multiple moving parts to juggle in their quest to build an indisputable championship roster for next season, and they’ve placed an existing one over an All-Star of theirs on their offseason priority list.

Matthew Schmidt and Brett Sigel of ClutchPoints unveiled that the Knicks are more focused on keeping OG Anunoby than three-time All-Star Julius Randle this summer. This could have major bearings on their payroll and their hunt for another star once the market opens up.

Knicks want to keep OG Anunoby from strengthening rival 76ers in free agency

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

The Knicks want to prevent Anunoby from joining the Philadelphia 76ers if he doesn’t pick up his $19.9 million team option for 2024-25. The 76ers were able to take the Knicks to six games in their first-round series this year in spite of having a hobbled 2023 NBA MVP Joel Embiid and their third option in Tobias Harris go cold.

Anunoby leaving New York (50-32) for their Atlantic division rival, who also finished a mere three games behind them at 47-35 in the regular season could tip the scales for Philadelphia. The Sixers have lacked a reliable third option that can be a crutch on both ends when one of their two heavy hitters struggle. The British star could give them that and be a thorn in the side of a Knicks team whose scheme he now knows inside and out.

Knicks may not be able to afford another All-Star by signing Anunoby and Julius Randle

New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) reacts during the fourth quarter against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Meanwhile, Randle has had his name floating around in trade rumors since the Knicks were eliminated from the playoffs. He’s owed an average of $31.3 million for each of the next two seasons. If they give him the four-year, $181 million extension he’s eligible for and capitulate to the higher end of Anunoby’s projected market value at $45 million annually on a long-term deal, the Knicks will be strapped financially.

The hard choice will be deciding whether to keep Anunoby, who helped the Knicks go 12-2 upon his arrival on Broadway, or retain Randle, who has led them back to prominence after seven years of mediocrity. If New York desires Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star Donovan Mitchell or a player of his ilk, one of the aforementioned Knicks pillars may have to go.

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