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After a little breakout with the Toronto Raptors in 2021-22, OG Anunoby suddenly found himself the subject of trade rumors.
The fifth-year forward, who is averaging 17.1 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game this season, may not be as integral to the Toronto Raptors’ future as previously thought.
“After a stellar season for Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes, with news circulating among rival front offices that Anunoby was at times unhappy with his role in Toronto, Barnes Sterling joins Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet as the primary ball handlers for Nick Nurse’s offense,” Jack Fisher wrote for Bleacher Report. “Two sources with knowledge of the development told B/R that Anunoby did not directly express his displeasure with his situation with the Raptors.”
Whether that smoke is coming from Toronto or rival executives looking to lure Anunoby away remains to be seen, but the signals tend to lead to fires. If Anunoby does become available, there will surely be many suitors.
There are some legitimate questions about his durability (his career appearances are just over 60 per season, and just over 45 over the past two seasons), but Anunoby offers the kind of no-nonsense. The kind of position defense and 3-point shooting teams are always looking for.
Fisher noted that the Portland Trail Blazers and Utah Jazz could potentially join the bidding war if one starts, but there are other teams that should be interested as well.
According to reports, the asking price is “Two first-round picks or a promising rookie-level pick,” according to Fischer, it might be difficult to pry Anunoby from Toronto. Still, for the following five teams, it’s at least worth a shot.
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trade: OG Anunoby for Nassir Little, Keon Johnson, 7th pick in 2022 and 2022 second-round pick (from Memphis)
Damian Lillard is 31 years old. After a summer of trade rumors and speculation about his satisfaction with Portland in 2021, it’s no surprise that the Blazers are reportedly interested in short-term difference-makers like Anunoby .
Using historical NBA timelines as a guide, it’s safe to say that Lillard has only a few years left at the “best player on a championship team” level. Portland has to do it now.
While it’s fair to question whether Anunoby is the kind of “fight for” target that puts Portland in the ranks of title contenders, it’s not hard to imagine interesting lineup combinations with him on the roster.
The starting backcourt of Lillard and Anfernee Simons caused many of the defensive issues that plagued Lillard and CJ McCollum, but Josh Hart and Anunoby filling the 3 and 4 positions could alleviate some of those issues. Bring Jusuf Nurkic back at a reasonable price and you have at least a competitive starting five.
For Toronto, both Nassir Little (22) and Keane Johnson (20) offer slight “turn back the clock” opportunities. They’re wings with similar physical characteristics to Anunobi, but they’re not threatened by Barnes’ ascension pointing forward (neither of them have the same taste of fringe star as Anunobi).
Obviously, the bigger deal is the No. 7 pick in this year’s draft. While there could be some dip after a consensus top three that includes Jabari Smith, Chet Holmgren and Paul Banchero, Toronto could be interested in someone within Portland’s current range. The Raptors aren’t facing the same pressure to win as the Blazers.
Adding another top-10 player four or five years younger than Anunoby to a core lineup that includes Barnes could raise Toronto’s long-term ceiling.
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trade: OG Anunoby, Gary Trent Jr., 2023 first-round pick exchange and Rudy Gobert 2024 first-round pick
In light of Fischer’s report involving Anunoby and Gary Trent Jr.’s deal for Rudy Gobert”Probably too rich for the Toronto Brass,” it’s safe to assume Toronto and Utah will be far apart in terms of negotiations.
Gobert is five years older than Anunoby, but he’s a three-time Defensive Player of the Year, a four-time All-NBA selection, and has his own defensive system. Anunoby, who just missed 34 games, is averaging 17.1 points and scoring slightly above average in all three games.that’s his the best season.
Trading these two as key players would be a big move for the Jazz, but you could argue that’s why Danny Ainge was brought in.
He made a lot of drastic moves with the Boston Celtics, who are now in the NBA Finals, a versatile team built mostly by Ainge.
If you look at his team-building strategy there, you might find some clues about what’s going to happen next in Utah. Ainge is very bullish on wings and forwards working under the increasingly popular positionless philosophy. Talent and short-term impact aside, Anunoby (6’7″) and Trent (6’5″) make more sense in this philosophy than Gobert.
If Utah thinks the physical decline of the soon-to-be 30-year-old Gobert is imminent, and offloading him will prove to Donovan Mitchell that he’s a priority, then maybe it will roll the dice on such a trade.
Perimeter defense has been a big problem for the Jazz over the past two seasons, and adding Anunoby and Trent to the wing rotation would help. Moving Mitchell to the 1 position (no longer starting the two 6-foot-1 guards, which they’ve been doing with Mike Conley) would certainly help.
Of course, this move would leave a big hole for the Jazz at the 5, but that’s a hypothetical challenge for another day.
For the Raptors, this trade is almost a no-brainer. A solid perimeter defender or two next to Gobert pretty much guarantees a top-five-10 defense, and the potential of the Barnes-Gobert pick-and-roll duo is interesting.
Toronto will also be better at fighting small-ball lineups in the playoffs than Utah. If a team dares to run out of position, the Raptors can slide Barnes and Siakam to the 4 and 5 and be fine.
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trade: OG Anunoby for Naz Reid, Malik Beasley and 2022 No. 19 pick
Fisher reports that “Toronto is known to be hungry for a starting center,” and the Minnesota Timberwolves could have one on the bench.
Naz Reed, who is two years younger than Anuno, has already shown a five-hit streak (he’s averaging 11.2 points on 35.1 percent from 3-point range in 2020-21) and has a 2021-22 has a higher block rate than any Raptors rotation player.
Adding this 3D potential to a central location accomplishes several things for Toronto. Reed’s willingness and ability to space the floor open the lane for wings and guards like Barnes and VanVleet. His presence as a rim protector will allow the Raptors to do that without sacrificing defense like they did when they put Siakam at the 5.
Of course we don’t Know Reed is a starting-level center. So, including Minnesota’s first-round pick this summer. Adding Malik Beasley to the trade also offset Anunoby’s losses on the wing. He’s not an all-rounder for OG, but he’s a high-volume 3-point shooter who can swing in hot form during the game.
The addition of Anunoby in the Timberwolves trade upgrades the perimeter defense, playing alongside Karl-Anthony Towns. Minnesota’s No. 5 will never be as useful on defense as Gobert, so perimeter players are key.
The lineup of D’Angelo Russell, Anthony Edwards, Anunoby, Jarred Vanderbilt and KAT will provide an interesting offensive and defensive mix. It’s not hard to imagine Patrick Beverley replacing Russell or Vanderbilt, depending on the situation.
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Sign-in transaction: OG Anunoby, Chris Boucher, 2023 first-round pick exchange and Deandre Ayton 2024 first-round pick
Rumors about DeAndre Ayton’s future with the team began to circulate after the Phoenix Suns were bounced back in the second round of the playoffs.
He will enter restricted free agency as one of the most coveted players on the market after the team failed to secure his long-term contract with an extension last summer.
Phoenix will have a chance to match any offer he signs, but the size and length of the deal could scare off the Suns.
“Sources say Ayton is on track for the top salary, but league executives doubt the Suns will match such a lucrative offer,” Fischer said. wrote. “… Three teams are now most commonly linked by league personnel as potential open market suitors for Ayton: Atlanta, Detroit and Portland. “
If Toronto is really keen on adding a starting 5, it should join that list of suitors and offer a sign-and-trade.
Ayton isn’t a defensive changer like Gobert, but he’s six years younger and has a stronger offense. Gobert is one of the best pick-and-roll players in the league, but Ayton can do it by posting down low and hitting a frontal jumper from mid-range.
Coach Nick Nurse is as well equipped as anyone to coach Ayton on the defensive end. He has come a long way in this area in Phoenix, but still has room to grow.
If Phoenix does make a bid for Ayton and the rest of the league can’t get past the plan, the deal would also make sense for the Suns.
Chris Paul won’t play forever, but last season, all of Phoenix’s centers performed about the same when they played against CP3. It’s safe to assume that Chris Boucher will get a similar boost, and he’s also showing some ability to stretch the floor (he’s shooting 38.3 percent from 3-point range in 2020-21).
Adding Anunoby to a mostly positionless wing and guard team that includes Devin Booker, Mikal Bridges, Jae Crowder and Cameron Johnson makes a lot of sense.
A big reason the Suns lost to the Dallas Mavericks was their inability to compete with a five-man lineup. As you can imagine, Anunoby could play number 5 in this situation.
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Sign-in transaction: OG Anunoby trades for Mo Bamba, Chuma Okeke and a 2023 first-round pick (from Chicago)
Shortly after the Orlando Magic secured the No. 1 overall pick in this summer’s draft, Fisher reported that “league personnel anticipate that Bamba, a restricted free agent this summer, is likely to leave the team.”
He’s another good option for the Raptors to start at the 5.
After three relatively disappointing seasons with occasional 3-point strength, things are finally starting to get off the ground in 2021-22 for Bamba.
He started 69 of the Magic’s 71 games and averaged 10.6 points, 1.7 blocks and 1.5 3-pointers in 25.7 minutes.
Putting him at the 5 with Siakam would likely accomplish all the same things (floor spacing and rim protection) detailed in the analysis of Naz Reid.
The addition of Chuma Okeke would give Toronto a flyer for another forward, much like the Portland trade.
Considering the Raptors didn’t bring someone like Anunoby back right away, a first-round pick was necessary.
It shouldn’t be a big deal for Orlando to pass up that opportunity. The Magic will still have their No. 1 pick in 2023, and the roster is already loaded with under-25 talent.
Move Wendell Carter Jr. to No. 5 and add Anunoby to a group that includes Franz Wagner, Jonathan Isaac and potentially Jabari Smith or Paul Banchero Among the forwards, will immediately modernize Orlando.