In the 21st century, it is rare to put the words "contender" and “New York Knicks” together in the same sentence. It would almost seem like a joke, but it isn’t one. The 2024 edition of the Knicks is a contender. Coming into the year, the Knicks had the obvious expectation of being a playoff team.
Just last season, they advanced to the second round of the playoffs, where they took the eventual Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat to six games. They did not make any major moves in the offseason outside of signing guard Donte DiVincenzo, but the core of Jalen Brunson, Julius Randle, and RJ Barrett was still in place for continuity.
Heading into the new year, though, it became clear that the Knicks needed to make a move in order to make the team a more serious contender in the East. The team was middling out, as there were only 17–14 on December 29th, 2023. One day later, the Knicks sent RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley to the Toronto Raptors for forward OG Anunoby.
It was a big move that the Knicks had to make, as Anunoby is one of the elite defenders in the NBA and fits into the Knicks offense better than Barrett. Quickley was also slated to be a restricted free agent this coming offseason, and the Knicks would have had to pay him a lot of money.