Saturday, Dec. 30, was just another day. Or, it was supposed to be. New York Knicks fans were looking forward to watching the team play Obi Toppin and the Pacers later that evening. It was going to be a lot of fun to see Immanuel Quickley and Toppin chop it up before and after the game.
Then a Woj bomb hit. That afternoon, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Knicks were trading RJ Barrett and Quickley to the Raptors for OG Anunoby. Shortly after, social media buzzed with New York, Toronto, and NBA fans digesting the news. Over 10 days later, it still comes as a bit of a shock to see Barrett and IQ in Raptors jerseys.
Imagine how it must've felt to be one of the players included in the trade. It was known the Knicks had an interest in Anunoby, but with the ongoing lawsuit, it didn't seem like he'd be traded to New York. There were no reports that the Knicks and Raptors were having active trade conversations, which made the news of the trade that much more surprising.
RJ Barrett said he was "so confused" when he got call about Knicks-Raptors trade
In an interview with Andscape's Marc Spears, Barrett said he was just as shocked about the trade as the rest of us.
"I had no clue. I just got the call when it happened. I was like, ‘What is going on?’ ” Barrett told Andscape recently. “I was so confused. I didn’t see it coming. When he told me the Raptors, I was like, ‘OK, at least I’m coming home.’ "- RJ Barrett, via Andscape
The NBA is a business, but it was still a whirlwind for Barrett (and Quickley) to learn they had been traded from the team they started their careers with. Barrett told Spears he's grateful for his nearly five years in New York. During his Knicks stint, the team went from a joke to a playoff squad. He should be proud.
"I helped build something in New York,” Barrett said. “When I came there we weren’t good. I left it a lot better than when it started. Definitely bittersweet, but I’m happy for those guys over there. They are happy about the trade they made and I wish nothing but the best for them."- RJ Barrett, via Andscape
As Barrett noted, the Knicks are happy about the trade. The Raptors are, too. It's a move that has worked out perfectly for both teams.
Barrett and Quickley will play at MSG for the first time since the trade on Jan. 20 when the Knicks host the Raptors.