Toronto trading OG Anunoby isn't a shock, as there have been rumors and interest from several teams for over a year.
However, the surprise was the timing of this Dec. 30 deal and the Raptors' withdrawal. After seemingly years of indecision, the Raptors made a move and the Knicks paid a premium for a player on an expiring contract.
Who won and who lost this trade? Let's break it all down.
It begins with the details of the trade:
New York receives: OG Anunoby, Precious Achiua, Malachi Flynn
Toronto receives: Emmanuel Quigley, RJ Barrett, 2024 second-round pick (via Detroit, pick 31 or 32)
(Also, both teams made minor trade exceptions.)
Winner: And Anunoby
Anunoby is going to get paid no matter what. He's a free agent (he'll opt out of the $19.9 million he's due next season because he's worth at least $12 million a year on the open market) and teams are lining up to pay him.
Instead, Anunubi is the winner in this trade due to chance. He didn't fit in well with the Raptors, and his usage rate continued to shrink in the postseason as Scottie Barnes took on a bigger role (Anunoby is brilliant on the ball, as he should be, but hasn't become the shot creator the Raptors hoped for). Anunoby was squeezed into Toronto along with Pascal Siakam on the ball.
He'll fit better with the Knicks in an offense where he'll need shooting, and he won't be asked to create as many shots next to Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle (the offense runs through them). Anunoby is getting a great fit in a bright spotlight that's good for his career — and that next paycheck.
Debit Winner: New York Knicks
New York didn't lose in this trade – they got a great player in the trade. Anunoby is an elite on-ball defender, works well on the wing, is a better shooter than Barrett, and should fit like a puzzle piece next to Brunson. A Knicks playoff run in the Eastern Conference means facing some combination of Jayson Tatum, Jimmy Butler, Tyrese Maxey, Damian Lillard and Donovan Mitchell (among others) on Anunoby's defense.
And the Knicks kept their powder dry by not giving up a single first-round pick — and they'll be front and center with an even stronger offer if (or whenever) a superstar is acquired via trade this summer.
Still, giving up Quigley hurts — it's not radical to think he's the best player in this trade three years later. Would New York have been better off sending Barrett and a first-round pick (salary filler) to Anunoby and keeping Quigley? Would Toronto even have gone for it?
And, with Achiua (and maybe Flynn, if he can crack the rotation), the Knicks bench has gotten worse. A lot falls on Quentin Grimes and Josh Hart right now.
Winner: Emmanuel Quigley
Like many around the league, Quigley seemed unfazed by the trade.
As mentioned above, the best player in this trade today is OG Anunoby. It's not far-fetched to say that in a couple of seasons, Emmanuel Quickle will answer that question.
For reasons that frustrated and confused Knicks fans, Tom Thibodeau didn't seem to fully trust Quigley. It's not like the Thibs buried him deep on the bench, but Quigley deserved more of a run than he got when New York relied on coach Barrett, especially in the crunch time of games.
Now Quickley is going to get all the runs he can handle, and for those who think the Knicks overpaid in this trade, that's a leap of faith in Quickley. The watchman's chance has come.
Loser: The fans
Quigley is a fan favorite – an overlooked, underutilized guy who's easy to relate to and get behind. Now Knicks fans will watch him move to Toronto, a roster that needs his talent and watch him thrive. That would be a punch to the gut, especially if his game continues to develop.
Losers: 76ers, Pistons, other teams considering Anunoby as free agent target
This offseason's free agent (or potential trade) class continues to shrink. There was a time when teams held out hope that Giannis Antetokounmpo might be available (he extended with the Bucks), or Joel Embiid (he's happy now). Then there was the tier of potential free agents, and Anunoby was at or near the top of teams' lists. Now let's pass him too. There's no way the Knicks would have thrown all these assets at Toronto without the assurances from Anunoby and his camp that he would re-sign in New York (there are rumors it could be on waivers, we'll believe it when we see it. )
Winner: Toronto Raptors
It's not about the details of this trade; They have finally chosen a direction. There seems to be a plan. After letting Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVliet walk in free agency, leaning long into a three-forward rotation that wasn't working, and a 12-20 team in need of a new direction, the Raptors picked one. That's a start.
Whether they win this particular trade is TBD. It's too early to judge Toronto because: 1) it depends on how Quigley develops; 2) This isn't a stand-alone trade – The Raptors have made it clear they're retooling, and this will be Scotty Barnes' team. That means Pascal Chiagam will be on. What they get in that final trade completes the deal.
You can see the path forward for Toronto: start Quigley next to Barnes (which means moving Dennis Schroder to the bench), Barrett at three and — for now — Siakam at four, with Jacob Poelt at five and suddenly this is a good team, better matched than we've seen in Toronto this season. Quickley and Barnes should thrive next to each other.
Also, Detroit getting a second-rounder, which is essentially a late first-round pick, is a nice win for Toronto in this trade.
Winner: CAA Conspiracy Theorists
Leon Rose steps down as CEO of powerhouse CAA to become Nix president Since then, he has hired CAA-represented Thibodeau and signed CAA player Jalen Brunson as a free agent. Now he has to reach a new deal this offseason with Anunoby who is… you guessed it, a CAA client.
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