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Specialist Expected to Ink $160 Million Deal with East Contender

OG Anunoby gets drafted by Toronto Raptors

Regardless of if New York Knicks wing OG Anunoby returns to the court by the end of the season, the 26-year-old is expected to become a free agent for the first time in his career this summer.

OG Anunoby Expected to Ink $160 Million Deal with Knicks

Anunoby signed a four-year, $72 million contract extension with the Toronto Raptors in 2020. Under contract through 2024-25, Anunoby has a $19.9 million player option for next season. Yet, the 2024 free agent class has less star power than the 2025 free agent class. Thus, it’s more prudent for Anunoby to decline his player option than to play out the rest of his contract.

With that, the Knicks now face a dilemma.

New York is a more formidable team on both ends of the floor with the 3-and-D specialist. After trading for him, the Knicks immediately reeled off five straight wins. Before he was initially sidelined by his elbow injury, they won 12 of their first 14 games with him in the lineup. In that stretch, Anunoby averaged 15.6 points, 1.8 steals, and 1.1 blocks per game while shooting 39.1 percent from 3. There wasn’t much more that could be asked of him on either end.

Anunoby has only been available for three games since then.

Undergoing surgery to remove a loose bone fragment from his elbow, he missed the next 18 games. The Knicks went 8-10 in those contests and were glad to see him return for obvious reasons. New York won three consecutive games as soon the first-round pick got back in the lineup. However, that excitement was short-lived as Anunoby began experiencing swelling and discomfort in his surgically-repaired elbow. He’s been out since then, missing the Knicks’ last seven games, in which they’re 4-3.

The Big Picture on Broadway

Take a step back to look at the big picture for New York. They’re clearly better with Anunoby, 15-2 when he’s playing and 12-13 when he’s been out. Yet, he’s been hurt in more games (25) than he’s been healthy (17) and that’s unlikely to change by the end of the season.

Anunoby’s skillset, production, and fit since joining the Knicks speak for themselves. However, Anunoby has played in fewer than 50 games in three of the last four seasons. Consequently, there’s a bit of question about his free market value.

According to one Eastern Conference general manager, Anunoby “will try to break the bank” in New York.

“Why not?,” he asks, per Heavy insider Sean Deveney.

“They can’t afford to lose him,” the front office executive explains. “Not a max deal or anything, but I think from his side, it is going to look more like $40 million per year, something like four years and $160 million.”

That’s a pretty penny for Anunoby all things considered. Yet, the Knicks already payed a hefty price just to get the prized forward from the Raptors. In their deal with Toronto, New York surrendered both RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley to acquire Anunoby. If he walks, then they’ll have lost three high-quality players (including Anunoby) for nothing.

When comparing the price between keeping Anunoby on an outsized contract and letting him leave in free agency, it’s the latter scenario that the Knicks can’t afford to let happen.

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