Paul George's future could thwart Knicks' free agency plans for OG Anunoby

Will PG13 stay in LA?
New York Knicks, Los Angeles Clippers, Paul George
New York Knicks, Los Angeles Clippers, Paul George / Rich Schultz/GettyImages

Less than six months ago, the New York Knicks traded RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley to the Raptors for OG Anunoby. Even Knicks fans initially criticized the move, but it quickly became clear that the trade was a win for both sides.

Anunoby is expected to decline his $19.9 million player option for 2024-25 to become an unrestricted free agent. One of New York's main offseason priorities is keeping the 26-year-old wing, but there will be other interested suitors with more cap space.

The Sixers are reportedly interested in signing Anunoby, especially if they don't get Paul George. The 34-year-old has a $48.8 million player option for next season he could decline to enter unrestricted free agency. ESPN's Brian Windhorst recently reported that George and the Clippers still aren't on "the same page" in extension talks.

After the James Harden trade turned into a disaster, Philadelphia is looking for another star to pair alongside Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey. The Sixers have the cap space to pay PG13, meaning that if he stays in LA or goes to another team, Daryl Morey could pivot to Anunoby.

Sixers could be a threat to lure Anunoby from Knicks in free agency

On The HoopsHype Podcast, SNY's Ian Begley and New York Post's Stefan Bondy joined Michael Scotto to discuss the Knicks. While discussing Anunoby's future, Begley talked about how Philadelphia could impact New York's plans to retain the wing.

"If they go well beyond $35 million, it’s going to be because of Philadelphia, Oklahoma City, or another team with cap space coming in with a significant offer that forces the Knicks to exceed that. I think that’s around where you’d expect it, but if there’s a curveball there and Daryl Morey comes in and throws a big offer at Anunoby that forces the Knicks to go over the top, I think they have to because of what they gave up in the deal to get Anunoby here."

Ian Begley, HoopsHype

Even if the Sixers don't seriously think they can get Anunoby, Morey could still make an offer high enough to make the Knicks up theirs. That way, Philadelphia would at least be able to take satisfaction in making a division rival give a player more money than the front office intended.

If George declines his player option or pushes for a sign-and-trade so that the Clippers could get something in return, the belief is he'll go to the Sixers. Knicks fans should root for that scenario to happen for two different reasons: the Sixers wouldn't pursue OG and would overpay an aging, injury-prone player.

Begley also mentioned Oklahoma City as a team that could pursue OG. The Thunder will also have a lot of cap space that they could use to try to lure Anunoby away from the Knicks. Bondy previously reported that according to an NBA source, Oklahoma City has "real" interest in Isaiah Hartenstein.

As Begley said, New York will do what it takes to sign Anunoby in free agency. The front office didn't give up Barrett and Quickley to lose OG several months later.