Should Knicks fans panic about worrisome OG Anunoby free agency reports?

OG is expected to decline his $19.9 million player option.
New York Knicks, OG Anunoby
New York Knicks, OG Anunoby / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

OG Anunoby hasn't been with the New York Knicks for five months. It seems like it was yesterday when ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Knicks and Raptors agreed to a shocking trade that landed Anunoby in New York and RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley in Toronto.

Once the shock wore off, Knicks fans understood why the front office traded two homegrown stars for the wing. Anunoby was the perfect addition to the starting lineup, meshing with the other four players in a way Barrett couldn't. Tom Thibodeau was in heaven watching him on the defensive end.

Unfortunately, two injuries (one that required surgery) cut Anunoby's half season in New York shorter than expected. Now, entering the offseason, fans hope he'll be back in a Knicks uniform at the start of the 2024-25 season.

Anunoby has a $19.9 million player option for next season that he's expected to decline to become a free agent. The front office knew his situation before they traded for him. You can bet that Leon Rose didn't proceed with the deal thinking that the forward would be a short-term rental. New York wants Anunoby to be a long-term piece.

Will OG Anunoby stay with the Knicks in free agency?

SNY's Ian Begley reported that the Sixers view Anunoby as an offseason target. If their pursuit of Paul George is unsuccessful (as he could sign an extension to stay in LA), Philadelphia could turn its full attention toward Anunoby.

"As previously reported, members of the Philadelphia 76ers have seen Anunoby as an offseason target. Paul George is also a target for Philadelphia. But if the Sixers can’t get George, I could see them making a big offer to Anunoby – if for no other reason than it would force New York to match the money."

Ian Begley, SNY

If it's a shock to you that Anunoby will have other suitors in free agency, you haven't been around for long. Yes, it helps that he's a CAA client represented by Sam Rose (Leon's son), but other teams with the cap space will do their due diligence regarding one of the best defenders in the league.

The same goes for Anunoby. On Thursday, Yahoo Sports' Jake Fischer reported that the 26-year-old is expected to consider offers from other teams.

" But various teams left Chicago with the belief that Anunoby could reach unrestricted free agency and consider deals from other franchises in addition to New York, sources said."

Jake Fischer, Yahoo Sports

Fischer's report has caused some fans to fear the worst. Undoubtedly, losing Anunoby in free agency would be a terrible look for the front office. Leon knows that.

The Knicks could sign Anunoby to a five-year, $245 million max deal if he declines his option. That's a lot of money to commit to one player, especially when Jalen Brunson could sign an extension worth far less this offseason. It could come down to how far New York is willing to go, but fans don't need to worry too much.

Being anxious about Anunoby's looming free agency, as there's no guarantee he'll stay with the Knicks. It'll be up to him. He's spoken highly about his time in New York and seems genuinely happy, so even though nothing's for sure, there's still plenty of reason to believe he isn't going anywhere.