Knicks OG Klutch

Knicks Send RJ Barrett Home to Canada in Trade for Toronto’s OG Anunoby

The New York Knicks were subject to a Woj bomb this morning after striking a trade deal with the Toronto Raptors. The Knicks have been looking to acquire the services of OG Anunoby for quite some time, and they finally pulled the trigger right at the end of 2023. The deal saw the Knicks trade their young assets, RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley, to the Raptors, which may put Knicks fans up in arms, as they are watching two fan favorites go out the door.

The Knicks were able to acquire Anunoby, along with Precious Achiuwa and Malachi Flynn, in return for RJ, IQ, and a 2024 second-round draft pick. This move has stirred up quite a reaction in the NBA community, with fans and pundits weighing in on who got the better end of the deal. Personally, I like the deal for both teams, but I think it’s particularly good for the Knicks.

OG Anunoby is a 26-year-old wing known for his impressive defensive skills and consistent scoring capability. The British-born player has been a key asset for the Raptors, leading the league in steals last season and shooting at an impressive rate of 38.7% from beyond the arc. His acquisition bolsters the Knicks’ defense, which has been close to non-existent after losing Mitchell Robinson to injury. 

In regards to RJ and Quickley, I’m sad to see them go, but understand it’s for a greater cause in the future. RJ Barrett, the 23-year-old Canadian, was a significant loss for the Knicks. Having signed a four-year, $107 million contract before the 2022-23 season, Barrett was a rising star in the Knicks’ roster, averaging a career-high 20.0 points per game in the 2021-22 season. 

However, his performance seems to have taken a step back following the ascension of Jalen Brunson to the Knicks’ lead guard. RJ showed significant signs of growth, and then he got a migraine and reverted back to his inconsistent ways. We really were hoodwinked, led astray, run amok and flat out deceived by his start to the season. It is truly an enigma. It has to be mental, because the physical ability is there. I wanted him to succeed, I really did, but it just seems like it was time part ways. At least they sent him home to Canada. 

Immanuel Quickley, on the other hand, was a promising guard who worked on a rookie extension this previous offseason with the Knicks, but they couldn’t agree to terms. Despite this, he had proven his mettle in the league by coming in second in the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year voting last season. 

This is the part of the deal that probably stings the most for Knicks fans. We saw how important he was coming off the bench. Regardless, the Knicks actually retained value with his potential free agency looming, which indicates that they didn’t see themselves meeting Quickley’s salary demands. This move to Toronto might give him the opportunity to potentially become a starter and pursue that huge extension he and his camp wanted this previous off-season with the Knicks that ultimately couldn’t get done. 

Knicks’ Long Pursuit of Anunoby

The Knicks’ pursuit of Anunoby was no secret in NBA circles. They had been eyeing the 3-and-D wing since last season, and their persistence finally paid off when they secured him in this trade. Anunoby’s addition to the team is expected to provide the Knicks with a significant boost, especially in the areas of floor spacing and defense. 

This trade also brings about significant implications for the Knicks’ future plans. By trading away Barrett’s contract,  and not extending Quickley this past offseason, in addition to Fournier’s contract expiring, the Knicks have freed up considerable cap space. This opens up the possibility of extending Anunoby and acquiring a superstar player, which has been a long-time goal for Leon Rose since he took the role as the President of the Knicks.

The Drama Off the Court & Meeting with Klutch Sports

The trade between the Knicks and the Raptors also comes amid a lawsuit filed by the Knicks against the Raptors and their parent company, Maple Leaf Sports Entertainment. The lawsuit alleges that a former Knicks employee stole proprietary information and took it with him to the Raptors. Despite these off-court issues, the teams managed to finalize the trade, demonstrating their primary focus on improving their respective teams.

A chess piece that many Knicks fans have been monitoring off the court is a potential sit down between the CEO of Klutch Sports, Rich Paul, and Leon Rose. 

This potential meeting could prove to be very significant for the New York Knicks. First, such a meeting suggests a willingness on both sides to resolve any existing tensions. This could open up new avenues for the Knicks to negotiate with Klutch-represented players, who include some of the NBA’s top talent.

Given that Rich Paul’s agency has been hesitant to do business with the Knicks’ front office, a successful meeting could mean access to a broader pool of high-profile players for future signings and trades.

The potential reconciliation could also be pivotal in the Knicks’ pursuit of Dejounte Murray, who is represented by Klutch Sports and is seen as an ideal trade target to pair with Jalen Brunson in the backcourt. If Paul is open to changing his posture towards the Knicks’ front office and facilitating deals if his clients desire the location, landing a player of Murray’s caliber could be a game-changer for the Knicks’ roster and significantly boost their future plans. 

Moreover, addressing the perceived issues between Klutch and the Knicks could improve the team’s reputation around the league. With concerns from multiple agents and NBA personnel regarding the Knicks’ close association with CAA, where Rose and Paul previously worked, finding common ground with Klutch could alleviate some of these concerns and enhance the Knicks’ image as a fair and professional organization.

Lastly, a successful dialogue could prevent the Knicks from being at a disadvantage in the competitive NBA market. With Paul’s influence and the high profile of his clients, establishing a working relationship could provide the Knicks with more options in the trade and free agency markets, aiding their ability to finally acquiring that superstar we always talk about. 

If we pray for anything in 2024, a meeting between Leon Rose and Rich Paul is the next mountain to climb for the Knicks, from acquiring top-tier talent like Dejounte Murray and Zach Lavine to pursue a NBA championship. The outcomes of such a meeting could accelerate us to the parade in June we all cheer for. 

Looking forward, the Knicks’ acquisition of OG Anunoby marks a significant reshaping of their team and opens a huge can of worms. While they had to part ways with promising young talents like RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley, the addition of Anunoby aligns with their strategic plans for the future. Only time will tell how this trade will influence the Knicks’ performance in the seasons to come, but it certainly marks an interesting shift in their team dynamics heading into the new year. 


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