Raptors fans deserve to get dunked on for biased Knicks-OG Anunoby trade take

The exchange between the New York Knicks and the Raptors on December 30 has proven to be an uncommonly beneficial move for both teams. New York advanced toward contention with the addition of OG Anunoby, while Toronto acquired two promising young talents in RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley.

The Knicks appear formidable with Anunoby on the roster, but his recent absence due to elbow surgery for a bone spur irritation has sidelined him for a few weeks. He is anticipated to miss a minimum of three weeks and is poised to benefit from the forthcoming All-Star break.

Barrett has returned to Toronto, where he is currently averaging a career-high 20.8 points per game. In the Raptors’ offensive system, he enjoys greater liberty, a privilege he did not experience while playing alongside Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle. Meanwhile, Immanuel Quickley has secured a starting position, achieving a career-best average of 16.8 points per game. If he had remained in New York, he would likely still be playing second fiddle to Brunson.

Upon the initial completion of the trade, it came as a surprise. Knicks supporters grappled with the departure of Quickley and Barrett, particularly Quickley, as they attempted to reassure themselves that Anunoby would justify the trade. The initial 24 hours were challenging, but Anunoby’s impactful debut quickly dispelled any doubts, showcasing his significant upgrade to the team.

Six weeks later, both sets of fans remain content with the trade. There’s ample evidence demonstrating the benefits received by both New York and Toronto, making it all the more puzzling to hear two Raptors fans on the “Hip Hop Hoops” podcast confidently assert that it was a decisive victory for the Raptors.

Raptors fans call Masai Ujiri the “ultimate finesser” for Knicks trade

Once more, it’s entirely logical why Toronto fans were (and continue to be) thrilled about the trade. Instead of risking losing Anunoby for nothing in free agency, the Raptors acquired Barrett and Quickley in exchange, a sentiment that 3 Stars Jalen Brunson should be recruiting to Knicks during All-Star weekend.

While Ujiri rightfully deserves appreciation from the fan base, let’s not overlook the fact that Leon Rose was also well aware of his actions. It has been reiterated countless times, but it’s essential to recognize that Anunoby represents an improvement over Barrett. Anunoby’s prowess as an off-ball player and one of the premier defenders in the league cannot be understated.

Toronto didn’t simply send Precious Achiuwa (who has been performing well for the Knicks) and Malachi Flynn to New York in exchange for Barrett and Quickley. If that had been the case, it would have been an outright steal by Ujiri. These two fans seem to overlook the immediate impact Anunoby had in transforming the Knicks.

It remains premature to determine which organization emerged as the victor of the trade or which will reap greater long-term benefits. If Anunoby contributes to a championship win for New York, would that define the Knicks as the winners? Conversely, if Quickley evolves into a star, would that designate the Raptors as the winners? The outcome awaits further developments.

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