After years of criticism for the lack of initiatives, it has finally happened. The New York Knicks completed a blockbuster trade, sending RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley to Toronto in exchange for OG Anunoby, with a few other pieces also involved in the deal.
Ultimately, Anunoby and the Knicks have been linked since at least last season. The seventh-year small forward was always seen as a good fit in New York. But giving up Barrett and Quickley never seemed like part of the plan.
Realistically, sending Barrett and Quickley out in the deal makes sense for two reasons: Barrett and Anunoby both play the majority of their minutes at small forward. They could have coexisted, but it’s not ideal. And the Knicks’ logjam at shooting guard was limiting Quickley’s development. Why trade Quickley instead of Donte DiVincenzo or Quentin Grimes? Because Toronto probably preferred Quickley and New York clearly had second thoughts about paying him.
The 26-year-old OG Anunoby has played his entire career in Toronto. He’s averaging 15.1 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game so far this season, but those stats don’t tell the whole story.
Anunoby is a true 3-and-D guy, something the Knicks have been missing for quite a while. The 6’7” small forward is an All-NBA defender (2022-23) and a legitimate DPOY candidate, which will definitely improve a defense in need of help.
Anunoby’s shot will also significantly improve spacing. Last season he hit 38.7% of his three-point attempts, which ranked 54th in the entire league, better than anyone on the Knicks without Jalen Brunson. And his presence also provides DiVincenzo and Grimes with more playing time and a longer leash, something that irked Grimes earlier this season.
The Knicks also added Precious Achiuwa and Malachi Flynn. Achiuwa is a third-year center who can give a good 20 minutes per game backing up Isaiah Hartenstein. Flynn is a reserve point guard who is averaging 5.1 points and 2.4 assists in 15.3 minutes per game.