Knicks trade for OG Anunoby in mock proposal

NBA: Charlotte Hornets at Toronto Raptors, knicks, og anunoby

The New York Knicks have ample time to locate a third star to align with Julius Randle and Jalen Brunson for the upcoming 2023-24 season. However, their decision hinges on whether they anticipate a significant improvement in RJ Barrett’s performance.

Barrett, the 23-year-old guard, is undeniably a promising talent but his stats took a dip last year, with averages of 19.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and a .434 field goal percentage. If the Knicks are considering a strategic shift and planning to unload his contract, Toronto Raptors’ OG Anunoby could be an ideal replacement given his defensive skills and scoring abilities.

A Mock Trade: The Knicks and Raptors Scenario

In this hypothetical trade scenario, the Knicks are proposing to give RJ Barrett, two first-round picks, and Evan Fournier to the Raptors.

Anunoby, the 26-year-old small forward, comes off a good season, playing 67 games with averages of 16.8 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.9 steals, and a .476 field goal percentage, along with a .387 three-point hit rate. Anunoby not only brings shooting quality that could benefit from increased volume but also offers strong defense that would bolster the Knicks’ lineup.

In addition to Barrett, the Knicks would offer two future first-round picks and unload Evan Fournier’s upcoming $18.9 million season salary. Given Fournier’s recent criticisms and his benching, it seems clear the Knicks would look for fresh avenues this off-season, pending the right deal.

The Raptors would gain two future first-round picks and RJ Barrett in exchange for Anunoby.

The Return of RJ Barrett: Potential Upsides

Barrett, being three years younger than Anunoby, still carries the potential of evolving into an All-Star. His return to Canada, his homeland, could potentially breathe new life into his game, enhancing his shot selection and boosting his confidence.

His past performance suggests promising three-point shooting abilities, as evidenced by his .401 hit rate during the 2020-21 campaign at the age of just 20. There’s no doubt that he could potentially replicate these figures.

The Knicks, if they retain him, are optimistic about Barrett’s prospects. However, with his impending four-year, $107 million deal, costing them $23.8 million per season, they face a tough decision. Anunoby, set to earn $18.6 million in the upcoming season with a player option at $19.9 million for the following year, could be a viable alternative. He may likely reject the option, seeking a long-term extension instead.

New York would need to be confident of re-signing Anunoby for an extended period. Yet, banking on his potential at the age of 26 could be a strategic win-now move, significantly enhancing their defense in the process.

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