The Knicks' serious threat in re-signing OG Anunoby could ruin 2023 trade

The Knicks didn't trade for OG to lose him in free agency.
New York Knicks, OG Anunoby
New York Knicks, OG Anunoby / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks ended 2023 with a bang. Fans thought it would be a typical Saturday, but then ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski shocked the NBA world with one simple tweet. The Knicks traded RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley to the Raptors for OG Anunoby.

It took a couple of days for fans to cope with losing their two top young players, but it didn't take long for Anunoby to ease their worries with his on-court fit. The Knicks were so good in January that the basketball gods stepped in and threw a wrench into the fan base's happiness. At the end of the month, Julius Randle dislocated his shoulder, and Anunoby went on the injury report.

Anunoby eventually returned after undergoing minor elbow surgery. Unfortunately, that was only the first of two injuries he'd suffer with the Knicks to finish the season. He injured his hamstring in Game 2 of the semifinals against the Pacers and returned in Game 7, but only for a few minutes.

Fans hope that isn't their last memory of OG in a New York uniform. He's expected to decline his $19.9 million player option to enter unrestricted free agency. ESPN's Brian Windhorst reported that Anunoby wasn't "thrilled" with the Knicks' offer after the NBA Finals concluded and that he will test the market.

If Knicks lose Anunoby in FA, Dec. 30 trade will have been for nothing

New York didn't trade Barrett and Quickley to Toronto to lose OG after half a season. The Knicks will do everything they can to keep the wing, even with his injury history. SNY's Ian Begley predicted that Anunoby will stay in New York and that his new contract will contain incentives for games played.

ESPN's Bobby Marks recently made his free agency contract predictions (subscription required) as well. He predicted that Anunoby will sign a four-year, $145 million deal and that if he were in charge, OG's salary for the final season would become guaranteed if he hits a certain number of games played.

Marks also listed the best fits for Anunoby in free agency: New York and Philadelphia. The Sixers will have more cap space than the Knicks this summer. If they don't get Paul George (who could decline his 2024-25 option or opt-in for a trade), Daryl Morey could shift his attention toward OG. At the very least, Philadelphia could offer him a higher number than the Knicks, forcing them to up their offer.

As mentioned, Anunoby's injury history is concerning. Offering him a deal worth around $35 million seems risky, but if New York loses him in free agency, it'd also mean the organization lost Barrett and Quickley for nothing. Luckily, the Knicks didn't send the Raptors draft picks, but they could've flipped that duo for assets.

While the Sixers could make one of their division rivals look bad, the belief is that Anunoby will stay in New York. CAA represents him, and even though he spent only half a season with the Knicks, he raved about his experience.

Please, let Philadelphia overpay George.