Why the Spurs are the overlooked winners of the surprise OG Anunoby trade

Gregg Popovich
Gregg Popovich / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

A rare Saturday trade jolted the NBA world with the news that the New York Knicks were acquiring OG Anunoby from the Toronto Raptors. That deal could have far-reaching ramifications, obviously for the Knicks and Raptors but also, surprising enough, for the Spurs.

The Spurs, after all, own the Raptors' top-six protected first-round pick in 2024 and 2025-- if the pick doesn't convey. Moreover, a recent report by Michael Grange suggested that the Raptors weren't interested in rebuilding and the trade that sent Anunoby to the Knicks suggests that that intel was right.

The Raptors acquired RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley, as well as a second-round pick, potentially giving them two starters. That is notable since it should keep them from bottoming out after trading Anunoby and while they aren't exactly dominating the NBA now, they aren't dramatically worse post-trade either.

Why the Spurs are big winners of the stunning OG Anunoby.

Toronto moving one of their best players and not getting noticeably worse is a big deal for the Spurs. After all, they are hoping that Toronto doesn't have one of the six worst records in the league this season. The Raptors currently have the eighth-worst record but could soon have the seventh-worst record with the Memphis Grizzlies making up ground.

That puts them on the edge of keeping their pick or conveying it to the Spurs. Of course, the Raptors will almost certainly move on from star Pascal Siakam and that will make them worse but perhaps not as much as initially thought if they are looking to retool instead of rebuild, like Grange suggests.

San Antonio certainly hopes for the former since it could give them two top-10 picks in the 2024 NBA draft, and they can definitely use both picks to address a serious lack of playmaking. The Anunoby deal keeps hope alive for the Spurs that Toronto won't completely tank, giving San Antonio a reasonable chance to receive a top-10 pick from the Raptors following this season.