NBA Rumors: Knicks likely to pick possible Anunoby replacement amid contract dispute

OG Anunoby
OG Anunoby / Elsa/GettyImages

The New York Knicks will enter free agency looking to build upon a strong 2023–24 season but that may prove harder than initially thought. Rumors have surfaced that the Knicks may have trouble keeping center Isaiah Hartenstein, who could command as much as $25 million a season. Meanwhile, OG Anunoby could command at least $40 million a season but he and the Knicks appear to be far apart on a new deal, resulting in him potentially testing out free agency where all bets are off.

Losing Anunoby would sting but they nearly made the Eastern Conference Finals with him in and out of the lineup, suggesting that he isn't irreplaceable. In fact, the Knicks, who have the 24th and 25th picks in the NBA Draft, have been projected to select a potential Anunoby replacement.

Do the New York Knicks have a backup plan if they and OG Anunoby can't agree on a new deal?

With back-to-back first-round picks, they could target the University of Virginia wing, Ryan Dunn, who is considered to be the best defensive player in the draft. In fact, he has even been called one of the best defensive players in recent memory, adding to the intrigue surrounding him.

If he is such a great defensive player, then why would he go in the late twenties? Dunn's biggest question mark is on offense since his role in the NBA will likely be that of a 3-and-d wing but he shot just 20% from three for UVA last season. If he can become a serviceable offensive player, then he could be very valuable since wing stoppers are at a premium in the NBA.

However, he should be able to play minutes on the Knicks next season, but not necessarily as an immediate Anunoby replacement. If the Knicks aren't willing to take a step back, then Bleacher Report projects his next contract to be around $200 million or $40 million a year. They will have to decide whether he's worth that but Dunn may be a cheap long-term replacement option.