Knicks' OG Anunoby deal instantly justified by Immanuel Quickley contract

The New York Knicks paid a hefty price to re-sign OG Anunoby. The contract that Immanuel Quickley received instantly justified the decision.
Indiana Pacers v New York Knicks - Game Seven
Indiana Pacers v New York Knicks - Game Seven / Elsa/GettyImages

The New York Knicks have gone all-in on the current vision. Mere days into the offseason, New York has traded for Mikal Bridges and re-signed OG Anunoby to a massive five-year, $212.5 million contract that will see him make an average of $42.5 million per season.

Some have questioned if Anunoby was overpaid, but in the immediate aftermath of the 2024 NBA Draft, a definitive answer was provided: No.

Anunoby was acquired during the 2023-24 season for a package that centered around RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley. Losing Barrett and Quickley was tough, but New York felt it needed to shake things up along the perimeter and feared that it could lose Quickley to the open market.

Less than 48 hours after Anunoby was re-signed to a monster deal, the trade came full circle when Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported that Immanuel Quickley will be doing the same.

Anunoby will be making an average of $7.5 million more per season than Quickley—but there's context worth considering.

Quickley was excellent with the Knicks and broke out as a starter with the Toronto Raptors. During the 38 games he played in Toronto, he averaged 18.6 points and 6.8 assists per game while shooting 39.5 percent from beyond the arc.

Quickley will now work alongside franchise player Scottie Barnes in an attempt to restore the Raptors to relevance—much as Anunoby will be tasked with helping the Knicks contend.

The OG Anunoby signing cost has been justified

Saving $7.5 million per season sounds great on paper, but there's more to it than straight numbers. Anunoby and Quickley both signed for less than the max, with their contract figures comparing almost identically based on years of experience.

Both Anunoby and Quickley plan to sign contracts that, based on years of NBA experience, equate to roughly 86 percent of the maximum salary figure for the 2024-25 season.

In other words: Even if the Knicks had never traded for Anunoby, they'd be paying a similar price for Quickley. It's a fool's errand to debate which player is better, but it's easy to see who fits Leon Rose's vision for the Knicks—and, with all due respect to Quickley, it's Anunoby.

Rose wants to build the best and deepest perimeter defense possible in the effort to dethrone the Boston Celtics, and Anunoby ranks among the best on-ball defenders in the NBA.

A gamble has been made in New York, but there's no way around how great the results have been when the band has been together. The Knicks were 20-3 with Anunoby in the lineup during the 2023-24 regular season, 30-29 without him, and 17-15 before his debut.

Injuries are a concern, and big contracts will always cause a commotion, but as Quickley's massive deal with the Raptors has proven, the Knicks would've had to pay top dollar in either scenario.

Paying big money to take a chance on the dominance that the team displayed when Anunoby was on the court being sustained is a worthwhile risk.