by Tate Hutchinson
According to reports from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Knicks have landed a new star player to call the Garden home. Having long been a target for teams seeking a young two-way wing, OG Anunoby has shined on the Raptors throughout the past few years. As Toronto has fluttered between contention and rebuilding, they appear to finally be moving on from the final pieces of their 2019 title-winning squad. Stadium and The Athletic’s Shams Charania reports that New York is acquiring 26-year-old wing Anunoby in addition to 2020 first-round draftees Precious Achiuwa and Malachi Flynn. In exchange, Toronto acquires Knicks’ former 3rd overall pick in RJ Barrett, Sixth Man of the Year finalist Immanuel Quickley, and the Detroit Pistons’ second-round pick in 2024.
On the surface, the Knicks’ package seems quite steep for a player without an All-Star appearance who has averaged fewer points than Barrett in each of his years in the league. However, the Knicks see massive upside in OG on their franchise’s timeline, providing a much-needed defensive presence on the perimeter. The NBA steals leader last season, the seventh-year player will provide the Knicks with some much-needed championship experience at the Small Forward position.
In addition, the Knicks get two talented young pieces to fill out their rotation. Malachi Flynn has struggled in his first few seasons, but is shooting at a career-best efficiency and is improving in defensive stats. He is projected to slot in the back of the rotation as a replacement at the PG position. Nigerian PF Precious Achiuwa will help provide minutes as a bench big man, averaging nearly eight points and over five rebounds per game in limited minutes for the Raps. Having attended high school in The Bronx and Newark, Achiuwa should return to NYC as a major piece for the Knicks.
These young players did cost Knicks president Leon Rose a hefty package in exchange. RJ Barrett was an excellent scorer in his time in New York, but his play has stagnated in recent seasons. The Raptors hope that their hometown star can make a leap in a fresh start there. PG Immanuel Quickley, a strong bench scorer, was likely not in the Knicks’ long-term plans as a 2024 free agent, likely requiring a large increase in salary. The acquisition of younger players on long-term deals was clearly a goal for the Knicks. And according to Wojnarowski, Anunoby has been pursued by the Knicks “for [a] significant period of time and [New York] now gets a head start on recruiting him to stay as a free agent in the summer.” With struggles in perimeter defense and needing a spark, the 7th-seeded Knicks will hope to rise in the Eastern Conference hierarchy with this blockbuster move.