NBA Rumors: Latest intel could spell disaster for the New York Knicks

Philadelphia 76ers v New York Knicks - Game One
Philadelphia 76ers v New York Knicks - Game One / Elsa/GettyImages

In late December, the New York Knicks traded RJ Barrett, Immanuel Quickley, and Detroit's second-round pick in this year's draft for OG Anunoby, Precious Achiuwa, and Malachi Flynn. The trade paid major dividends for New York despite failing to overcome a litany of injuries and suffering a second-round exit from the playoffs.

OG in particular made a significant impact on the franchise. New York boasted a spectacular 26-6 record in the 32 regular season and postseason games he played since arriving at the Mecca.In 23 regular season games with the Knicks, he averaged 14.1 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 2.7 steals plus blocks per game, while shooting nearly 50 percent from the field and almost 40 percent from three. A corner-three specialist, he is one of 13 players in the entire league to convert at least 60% of his 3-pointers from the corner this season.

According to Second Spectrum, he also held opponents to a league-leading 35.7 field goal percentage when he was the closest defender since swapping the red and black uniform for orange and blue. More importantly, he had instant chemistry with New York’s superstar point guard Jalen Brunson. Among all duos to play at least 500 minutes together, JB and OG ranked first in net efficiency, according to ESPN Stats and Information. 

From the moment the trade was executed until recently, it was always presumed OG would opt out of the final year of his contract and the Knicks would re-sign him to a more lucrative deal. Last week, SNY’s Ian Begley reported members of the Knicks front office felt “they were in a good place on both Anunoby and Isaiah Hartenstein." Unfortunately, things seem to have taken a turn for the worse.

ESPN NBA insider Brian Windhorst suggests OG Anunoby will test free agency

While speaking on potential free agency moves on ESPN's "Get Up" Monday morning, NBA insider Brian Windhorst claimed "Most people believe Anunoby will stay with New York, but there have been indications he may want to test the market, because he's not thrilled with what the Knicks are offering," as Jason Williams and Alan Hahn confirmed they have heard similar rumblings. 

It’s unclear at the moment what the Knicks have offered OG but it’s safe to assume it’s less than the four-year, $145 million ESPN NBA front office insider Bobby Marks projected him to receive this offseason if he isn’t happy with it. The consensus is that Anunoby will make at least $35 million annually with his next contract. Still, it’s understandable if the Knicks try to play hardball in the early stages of negotiations. 

While the former Indiana Hoosier is in the prime of his career and will only be 27 years old at the start of the 2024-25 season, he also has a checkered past regarding his health. He missed more regular season games (27) than he played (23) with the Knicks this past season. To commit a $30-plus million yearly salary to a player with an injury history like OG is a HUGE risk.

Still, his value to a team and impact on winning is undeniable when healthy. The Knicks traded for OG midseason with the expectation of being able to keep him past this season and he was a critical piece to their success this season. He will surely have many suitors trying to poach him away this summer and if he perceives New York’s offers as disrespectful and decides to leave, the Knicks' season may very well go up in flames before it even begins.