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According to some recent rumors. OG Anunoby could be the hottest target available at the NBA Trade Deadline. These trades could put him at the center of major NBA storylines.
Everyone wants OG Anunoby, at least according to Zach Lowe. On a recent episode of the Lowe Post podcast, he spent some time singing Anunoby’s praises and talking up his trade value:
“The entire league wants OG Anunoby. Everybody wants OG Anunoby. If he ever gets traded, the price and picks are going to surprise people because it might be on par almost with what the Cavs gave up for Donovan Mitchell.”
As a reminder, the Cavs sent Lauri Markkanen, Collin Sexton, rookie Ochai Agbaji, three first-round picks and two pick swaps to the Jazz for Mitchell. More than a few league insiders have been mentioning the Raptors as a potential candidate to blow things up and Anunoby is absolutely an intriguing piece.
The 25-year-old wing has two seasons left beyond this one an extremely reasonable deal. He’s averaging a career-high 18.7 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.4 steals per game, which also leads the league. He’s hitting 35.7 percent of his catch-and-shoot 3s and has taken a step forward as a complementary creator, averaging 8.9 drives per game.
Anunoby provides more value on defense than he does on offense but he’s a legit, versatile two-way threat who could make almost every team better. I’m not quite as optimistic as Zach Lowe but I did put together a few fun trade ideas that help illustrate just how valuable Anunoby could be, both in resetting the Raptors and reshaping rebuilders and contenders both.
What could the Toronto Raptors get for OG Anunoby?
2023 1st-round pick (BOS)
The surprising competitiveness of the Pacers this season has definitely changed their trade deadline calculus and might be the reason Myles Turner is still on the Pacers right now. However, he’s still an expiring contract and if they can’t get traction on getting him to sign an extension they’ll have to trade him before the deadline to avoid losing him for nothing.
If the Pacers have to trade him, this would be a no-brainer. They’re getting an all-defensive wing to play next to Tyrese Haliburton and Bennedict Mathurin and someone whose complementary offensive game would be a perfect fit. They may have to add some sweeteners for the Raptors but the Celtics pick and Aaron Nesmith are absolutely a reasonable price to pay.
For the Raptors, they don’t get anything close to the draft assets Zach Lowe may be imagining but they do get a 26-year-old big man, in the midst of a career year, with the capability of anchoring an elite defensive and the offensive versatility to space the floor or work from the middle in the pick-and-roll. If they can sign him to that next contract he could be an ideal frontcourt building block with Pascal Siakam and Scottie Barnes.
2024 1st-round pick
2026 1st-round pick
The Suns are already a contender but this is the kind of all-in move that could put them over the top. Cameron Johnson has been a very solid contributor but he’s currently out of the lineup and it’s not clear the Suns will want to pay what it takes to re-sign him to his next deal. They give up him and Crowder, who hasn’t played at all this season while waiting for a trade, along with two future first-round picks to land a two-way difference-maker.
Anunoby duplicates a lot of what the Suns get from Mikal Bridges but they both have the size to deal with a lot of 4s and duplication of elite defensive wings who can space the floor and act as complementary creators isn’t exactly a bad problem to have.
For the Raptors, Johnson might not be a game-changer but he has value as a 3-and-D floor-spacer and would be worth re-signing. They can explore trading Crowder to another Contender and maybe add another first-round pick, while adding two future firsts to their war chest, hopefully far enough out that they fall after the Suns’ window of contention begins closing.
Gary Trent Jr.
This might be one of those trade ideas that neither team would really entertain, but I just like it. There are reports that things are rocky between Zach LaVine and the Bulls but it would still be an enormous pivot for them to trade a player they just signed to a five-year, super-max deal. In addition, LaVine can’t actually be traded until Jan. 15 because he was signed with Bird Rights.
But, if the Bulls decide they need to make a change, this is a decent return. They don’t get any future picks back but they get two high-quality wings who complement the rest of their current roster and might actually push them back into the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff race. Anunoby would have value as a complementary creator next to DeMar DeRozan and a huge defensive upgrade on the wing. Trent Jr. is an excellent movement shooter who can add more offensive value and keep the floor spaced around Vucevic and DeRozan.
For the Raptors, a 27-year-old wing on an enormous contract and in the midst of a down year may not be what they’re looking for. But at his best, he’s an offensive game-changer and he would be the kind of dynamic perimeter scorer they’ve needed. LaVine with Siakam, Barnes and VanVleet could also get back into the thick of the playoff race and make themselves a contender for the next year or two with some offseason tweaks.
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The Phoenix Suns are going to have a new owner
On Tuesday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news that Robert Sarver had found a buyer for the Phoenix Suns. Here’s what you need to know:
- The details: Mat Ishbia will purchase the majority of the Phoenix Suns and WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury for $4 billion. The price is the most anyone has ever paid for an NBA franchise.
- Who is Mat Ishbia? He is the CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage and according to ESPN, has been looking to buy an NBA or NFL team for several years. He is also a Michigan State alumn who won a National Championship with the Spartans as a walk-on in 2000.
- What this means for the Suns’ trade deadline plans: There had been reports that the Suns may be unwilling to take on long-term contracts at the trade deadline with their ownership situation unsettled. It will take time for the sale to be completed but this could lead to a more aggressive deadline approach.