The In-Season Tournament was supposed to have delayed the start of the NBA trade season. The Play-In Tournament was supposed to hold more teams in limbo for longer. The uncertainty around which teams would actually be sellers was going to freeze the market.
Instead, the New York Knicks cracked trade season wide open on Saturday, trading for the "untouchable" OG Anunoby. The Knicks sent RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for Anunoby, Precious Achiuwa and Malachi Flynn, the latter two mostly just for salary purposes. The Raptors also received Detroit's 2024 second-round pick in the deal.
At first blush, it may seem like the Knicks made their swing. They decided to use their assets on OG Anunoby, a defensible decision. Anunoby gives the Knicks a perimeter defender with size, something this rotation did not have, and without sacrificing floor-spacing. At 26 he isn't an aging veteran on the downslope of his career, and given that he is a CAA client the team has reason to expect that he will re-sign with the team this summer.
The New York Knicks aren't done
Looking deeper at the deal, however, reveals a different conclusion: the Knicks aren't done. They traded for Anunoby without using a single first-round pick, and they retain the expiring contract of Evan Fournier to get a headstart on salary matching in the next trade.
Who could the Knicks be after? It may just be another CAA client, Donovan Mitchell of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Let's look at what kind of package the Knicks could still put together to incentivize the Cavaliers to send Mitchell to New York.