NBA Rumors: Longtime Knicks rival was close to trading for OG Anunoby

It's a great thing this trade didn't happen.

New York Knicks, OG Anunoby
New York Knicks, OG Anunoby / Elsa/GettyImages
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Since OG Anunoby made his New York Knicks debut against the Timberwolves, the team is 5-0. The wing is coming off his best game thus far as a Knick, as he finished with 23 points (9-of-12 from the field, 4-of-6 from three), four rebounds, one block, and one steal in New York's 112-84 win over Portland on Tuesday.

With all due respect to RJ Barrett, Anunoby is a much better fit with the Knicks' starters. He's a great off-ball player, so he doesn't need to operate with the ball in his hands. On the defensive end, he's a superb on-ball defender. Anunoby might still be adjusting to New York's schemes, but his play has already proven the Knicks were right to make the trade.

New York wasn't the only team in the race for Anunoby, which isn't a surprise because 3-and-D wings are valuable. He was close to going to another team, as Yahoo Sports' Jake Fischer reported the Pacers "came just shy" of trading for Anunoby.

"If the Pacers do come away with Siakam, it will come after Indiana came just shy of landing Anunoby, sources said. Indiana made a strong push until the end of Toronto’s talks with New York to bring the Hoosiers product to Gainbridge Fieldhouse, although it’s unclear what sticking points prevented the Pacers and Raptors from getting over the finish line."

Jake Fischer, Yahoo Sports

Pacers "came just shy" of trading for new Knicks wing OG Anunoby

Indiana needs to upgrade its defense if the team wants to make a run in the playoffs, and Anunoby undoubtedly would've helped that cause.

Imagine if roles were reversed, and it was reported that the Knicks nearly traded for Anunoby before the Pacers sealed the deal. Not only would New York be clowned, but a conference rival that the Knicks are close to in the standings would've greatly improved.

Indiana is expected to make a move or two before the deadline, but New York could do the same. The Anunoby trade didn't set the Knicks back in their hunt for a star. It actually brought New York one step closer. Even if the front office waits to make a big trade in the offseason, this current squad will be a problem in the postseason. Fans can partly thank the Anunoby trade for that.

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