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New York Knicks Trade Was Needed

OG Anunoby
(R.J. Johnston/Toronto Star)

In a time mostly controlled by college football bowl season, the NBA made a splash blockbuster trade this morning. The trade was between Atlantic Division Rivals, the New York Knicks, and the Toronto Raptors. The Knicks sent RJ Barrett, Immanuel Quickley, and a 2024 second-round pick to Toronto for O.G. Anunoby, Precious Achiuwa, and Malachi Flynn.

Barrett gets to return back home to Canada, as he was born in Toronto. This was a bit of a head-scratching trade for the Knicks, as many Knicks fans were shocked and frustrated with Quickley being involved in the deal. Quickley was a solid guard to run the bench unit for the Knicks ever since he was drafted in 2020 and was on the All-Rookie team. Quickley’s role intensified last season, and as a result, he witnessed a career-high year and should have won Sixth Man of the Year.


Why the Trade Happened?

The reason Quickley was part of the trade was that he was a pending free agent and was looking for a contract similar to his former teammate Jalen Brunson‘s. Leon Rose simply did not want to give that large of a contract to a bench player. Also, Rose and the front office have been high on Anunoby for over a season, and they almost acquired him at the trade deadline last season.

Another reason the trade happened was it was time to part ways with Barrett. Recently, since returning to the lineup after a bout with migraines, he has been playing some bad basketball, with the exception of the Christmas Day win over the Milwaukee Bucks. Barrett was drafted third overall in 2019 to be a star and the number one option, but instead is an inconsistent third option.


How Does This Trade Benefit The Knicks?

The Knicks may have actually won this trade in both the short term and long term, as Anunoby is one of the best two-way wing players in the league with his solid defense and shooting ability. Anunoby is averaging 15.1 points per game this season, and he led the league in steals last season. Anunoby is a better player than Barrett, giving the Knicks better defense and more consistent scoring.

Also, the Knicks were not going to give Quickley the payday he wanted, so it was better to trade him and get value back for him. This trade also saves the Knicks a lot of money that they can use to bring in a superstar. Anunoby already said he is willing to take a pay cut for that to happen.

Achiuwa is a solid addition to the Knicks. He replaces Taj Gibson as the backup center to Isaiah Hartenstein with Jericho Sims injured and Mitchell Robinson out for the year. In his five games, Achiuwa has four steals and four blocks, impacting the defensive end.

Grade: B+


How Does This Trade Benefit The Raptors?

Similar to Quickley, the Raptors were not going to re-sign Anunoby, so they made the right move to trade him and get assets back. Barrett and Quickley were too solid additions to the team that can be young staples to build from for many years to come. A change of scenery was much needed for Barrett. He and Quickley now have a much more expanded role—especially Quickley, as he most likely replaces Dennis Schroder in the starting lineup.

Also, the second-round pick is going to be better as it is not the Knicks second-rounder but the Detroit Pistons. The Pistons second-rounder essentially is a late first-rounder due to the Pistons being one of the worst teams in basketball and currently on a 28-game losing streak.

Grade: C-


What the Future Holds For Both Teams

This trade will most likely ignite a rebuild, as the Raptors have already made Pascal Siakam available. Both teams will not be done making trades this season. However, their trajectories are different.

The Knicks will look to finally make their splash and acquire a true number-one superstar to the likes of Donovan Mitchell, Devin Booker, or Joel Embiid, depending on whoever is available. Jalen Brunson is playing like a superstar this year. However, he is most likely a 1a player. After this trade, the odds of the Knicks winning the Eastern Conference increased to +2,400.

On the other hand, the Raptors will look to start rebuilding their rebuild by getting younger, creating cap space, and acquiring draft capital. The Raptor’s next move should be dumping Siakam. A contending team certainly will be interested in Schroder as a veteran point guard. With a few more moves, the Raptors are setting themselves up for a bright future and a successful rebuild after hitting the reset button.


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Brian Ramos is a contributor on Back Sports Page. Along with receiving his B.A. in Sports Communications, he has over a year of experience in the sports industry and has interviewed a variety of people in the sports industry, such as Mac McClungJulius RandleBobby Portis, Don La Greca, Adam Schefter, and others. In addition to writing, Ramos has called women’s lacrosse and baseball on ESPN+. Ramos has a podcast on YouTube called Cut The Nets, along with his co-host Jeremy Gretzer. You can find Brian on Instagram at @Brian.ramos0219 and Twitter at @brianramos0219.

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