The Toronto Raptors have done just that and will finally part ways with a franchise pillar. Toronto traded OG Anunoby to New York on Saturday morning. league sources told Yahoo Sports, RJ Barrett, Emmanuel Quigley and a 2024 second-round pick. The deal was first reported by ESPN. The Knicks will also join the valuable Achiua along with the true reserve center. Athletic Young guard Malachi Flynn said he will also visit Madison Square Garden.
The move comes a week after team executives flocked to the G League Showcase in Orlando, where one of the few trade rumors, though not confirmed, emerged as more chatter between Toronto and New York surrounding contract structures for Anunoby and Barrett. It's unclear how far the talks between the two owners went last offseason, but Barrett's name was included in negotiations in February, sources said, when the Knicks tried to acquire Anunoby before the 2023 trade deadline.
Toronto, however, remained steadfast, defying rival front offices across the league. With the Raptors hanging onto Anunoby, All-Star point guard Fred VanVliet and All-NBA forward Pascal Siakam for weeks, Toronto must send a protected first-rounder out the door, sources said. Get center Jakob Poeltl instead. Then, the Raptors watched VanVliet walk to Houston in free agency and got nothing in return. While the Raptors began this 2023-24 campaign well below postseason expectations — currently 12-19, tied for 12th in the Eastern Conference — executives again began to name Toronto as a major player in trade moves this year. Anunoby, Siakam and senior wing Gary Trent Jr.
But the timing of the Anunoby deal certainly came as a surprise to many team decision-makers around the NBA. The league expected Toronto to keep its top prospect closer to the deadline. When news that the Knicks were nearing a trade began to filter through the front office on Saturday, many assumed New York would find a little maneuver to help fill the void left by starting center Mitchell Robinson. An ankle injury is expected to keep him out for the remainder of the season. Anunoby is a huge swing, though the exit price the Knicks paid seems to have left a general consensus among league personnel, especially since New York acquired a coveted two-way swingman without sending any first-round draft capital. The Knicks are very focused on retaining spending on a marquee acquisition.
Quigley, adding a jitterbug combo guard in the final year of his rookie deal, makes for an intriguing package to kick off the NBA's trade window — even if the Raptors don't get the reward of first-round picks. Tells teams to part ways with AnunoP in previous transaction cycles. The Knicks measured Quigley's value this time last season, a league source told Yahoo Sports, retaining the 24-year-old sixth man finalist. His name was almost absent from early trade winds this winter, but after Quigley's innovative extension talks stalled in the fall, it wouldn't be surprising to see New York part with a player who wants an average of $7 million more than his average annual salary. The Knicks are offering, sources said, and Quickley has seen his playing time drop from 28.9 minutes last season to 24 so far in 23-24.
The Raptors, to their credit, have maintained a message to opposing teams that they don't need to move any of their senior pieces and begin a full-scale rebuild. As the Raptors explore acquiring Kevin Durant ahead of the 2022-23 campaign, the team believes it has the cornerstone of a good franchise in Scotty Barnes, a 22-year-old forward who has made Toronto untouchable in trade talks. Barnes will become more expensive once his own rookie contract expires after next season. Barrett, too, is under contract for another three-plus seasons at an average annual value of about $30 million. Toronto should also be aware of Quigley's preferred $25 million salary cap hit. The Raptors don't plan on being an expensive rip-off in the slightest.
League personnel are certainly willing to pursue the Seacom trade. Prior to this weekend's deal, Siakam was a Toronto veteran whom rivalry executives most likely thought the Raptors could deal, especially after the team sent Siakam to the Atlanta Hawks this summer, league sources told Yahoo Sports. He is on an expiring contract after his own extension negotiations ended without a deal this fall. Aside from Atlanta, the Kings and Pacers are routinely mentioned by NBA stats as possible fits for Siakam.
What's next for New York? The Knicks didn't land Anunoby without understanding his own financial concepts. When Anunoby decided to leave Clutch Sports, he held meetings with several agencies to discuss possible representation, saying he was interested in a bigger offensive role. Yahoo Sports. Still, Anunoby left those potential agents with the impression he would be willing to accept a smaller man if he landed in New York, the sources said. Notably, the Indiana production eventually signed with CAA, which has deep ties to New York leadership.
Anunoby is a great fit behind All-Star candidate Jalen Brunson's leading ball handling and Julius Randle's isolated scoring. A big part of New York's calculus to land Brunson in free agency two summers ago was to bring in a rugged point guard who would help lure top billing talent to one day join him in Manhattan. Anunoby stands as another supporting actor that will raise the Knicks' floor, the front office will continue to search and wait for a chance to land a legitimate superstar and raise New York's eventual ceiling.
But for now, Anunoby represents another target that this Knicks regime has been successful in identifying and landing. The trade helps head coach Tom Thibodeau clear a logjam in the backfield and wing rotation, which has used Quigley sparingly. Achiua should provide the necessary minutes on the court before helping to spell Isaiah Hardenstein in Robinson's absence.