Gilbert Arenas, one of the most prolific and underrated scorers of the 2000s, recently went on his show, Gil's Arena, to talk about the New York Knicks trading for OG Anunoby.
Arenas is a well-known hoops podcaster/personality in his post-playing days, hosting both Gil's Arena and No Chill with Gilbert Arenas, where he and a multitude of players and co-hosts talk hoops and give their take on the NBA today.
Gil's Arena compares RJ Barrett and OG Anunoby after Knicks trade
When asked about the trade on the recent episode, Rashad McCants, a former NBA veteran and co-host, gave his take on the trade first.
"What I like about it, [RJ] Barrett leaving New York allows [Donte] DiVincenzo and all those other utility guys to step up like they have been. And then you put OG in there, and you're like, We don't need a lot from you but your rebounding, your defense, [and] your shot-making; That's it, we don't need you to come in and be the guy for us."- Rashad McCants via Gil's Arena (YouTube)
That's simply what the Knicks needed from Anunoby: his defense. The offense was there, too, but the Knicks were already top-ten in offensive rating pre-trade but bottom-ten in defensive rating. His stats in New York thus far speak for themselves.
Arenas talked a little about the trade, saying, "It works for both parties in a sense." Later, he spoke on the Knicks as an organization. I will mention he did consider Jalen Brunson as New York's "most valuable piece," which is in all likelihood accurate, and I think most Knicks fans can attest to that.
Gilbert Arenas sounds off on the Knicks organization
Arenas continued to talk about the Knicks as a franchise in the second half of the 20-minute clip, talking negatively about the organization and how they handle their money in the offseason. Agent Zero had this to say:
"Every year when the numbers come out of who spent the most money: you [the Knicks] and the Lakers. You, Lakers, Boston, 1, 2, 3, 4 in a sense, right? You're top four every year, one has 18 championships, the other has 18 championships. Your a** sitting there with nothing... but you're spending championship money."- Gilbert Arenas via Gil's Arena (YouTube)
Unfortunately, this take can be debunked. This season, the Knicks are paying players a total of $160,133,546, good for... 17th in the NBA. In 2022, the Knicks were 28th in the league in team payroll. In 2019, New York was 12th, which, for their record, was a lot, but by no means "championship money," as they weren't even in the top ten.
Furthermore, the Knicks weren't really big spenders this past offseason, considering their moves included trading Obi Toppin (gaining salary cap), giving Josh Hart a veteran extension after he will make $12.96 million this season, and signing Donte DiVincenzo to a deal with a $12.5 million AAV ($50 million total).
Compared to the rest of the league, that doesn't necessarily make the Knicks championship spenders. The Knicks' biggest move in the past five years is Brunson's deal. JB was signed to a four-year, $104 million contract, which at the time seemed like an overpay... key phrase: at the time.
With averages of 25.7 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 6.4 assists this season, PLUS being the X factor in New York getting back to AND being in the playoffs the previous year, it's safe to say that $26 million per year for an All-NBA candidate is a bit of an underpay compared to today's contracts, if anything.
Arenas' take would've sufficed 20, even 10 years ago. The Knicks were spending big money on underperforming players like Joakim Noah, Jerome James, and Eddy Curry.
In 2014, the Knicks had the second-highest team salary in the NBA. However, this isn't who the Knicks are anymore. Leon Rose is not Phil Jackson, Scott Layden, or Isaih Thomas. Rose is smart with his money, and the Knicks are patient spenders.
By the way, the Knicks have two championships, not "nothing."