Examining potential trade destinations for OG Anunoby

Examining potential trade destinations for OG Anunoby

OG Anunoby has been flying under the radar among common NBA fans for years now, but everyone around the league knows how valuable his player archetype is nowadays. With the ability to play elite defense, fit into multiple positions, create his own scoring chances and hit catch-and-shoot opportunities, Anunoby is the ideal modern wing teams are looking for to upgrade their roster.

It's no wonder why Anunoby recently popped up in trade rumors, because his skill set would attract a robust market canvassing the entire league. The question is, would Toronto actually entertain moving Anunoby? According to Bleacher Report's Jake Fischer, this situation is worth monitoring this offseason.

Two years remain on Anunoby’s deal with a player option attached as well, so an extension is soon on the horizon for the former Indiana Hoosier. With the quick emergence of Scottie Barnes, which culminated in a Rookie of the Year campaign, the wing rotation is a little more crowded for the Raptors.

However, for a team like the Raptors, it’s in their identity to fit and develop players like Anunoby and Barnes. All-Star Pascal Siakam is the shiniest example of how transformative the franchise’s player-development program truly is.

What’s interesting about this situation is the fact that the Raptors have been poking around on some of the top prospects in the 2022 NBA Draft. Remember, the earliest Toronto picks in this year’s draft is No. 33 overall atop the second round.

Arizona’s Bennedict Mathurin, a likely top-10 selection, met with Toronto at the NBA Draft Combine. G League Ignite standout Dyson Daniels, currently slotted No. 6 overall to the Indiana Pacers in's latest mock draft, also has been in contact with the Raptors’ front office.

Where there’s smoke, there's usually fire. If the Raptors are seriously considering an aggressive move up the draft board, moving Anunoby would easily get them there. Even outside of the draft, Anunoby could be the key piece in a superstar-type trade for Toronto — this offseason or beyond.

Let’s go ahead and further explore Anunoby’s potential destinations if the Raptors decide to shop him.

Portland Trail Blazers

Raptors receive: Josh Hart, Nassir Little, No. 7 pick, No. 36

Trail Blazers receive: OG Anunoby

Portland continues to be involved in countless trade rumors leading up to the draft, mainly because the urgency surrounding their timeline with superstar point guard Damian Lillard. The time to win is right now for the Blazers, and Lillard has already shown on multiple occasions that he’s frustrated by the lack of postseason progression.

If the Blazers want to swing for the fences this summer to appease Lillard, it’s actually possible with two big moves. They have the cap space to make a trade for OG Anunoby and then sign Zach LaVine in free agency. Portland could put themselves back into the playoff picture by adding LaVine and Anunoby, and they'd be able to keep Anfernee Simons (who is a restricted free agent) and Keon Johnson. 

Jerami Grant has been the main name focused around Portland-related trade discussions, but Anunoby is actually a better overall fit next to Lillard. Thanks to his versatility and still untapped scoring potential, Anunoby could truly flourish in his next stop.

Utah Jazz

Raptors receive: Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gay

Jazz receive: OG Anunoby, Gary Trent Jr., Malachi Flynn, No. 33 pick, 2024 first-round pick (unprotected), 2026 first-round pick (lottery-protected)

Huge changes are on the horizon in Utah, especially after two bombshells dropped on Sunday revolving around Quin Snyder and Donovan Michell. First, Snyder resigned as the Jazz’s head coach after eight seasons. Only a few hours later, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Mitchell is “unnerved” with Utah’s direction now.

For multiple years now, there’s been smoke percolating around the discontent between Mitchell and Rudy Gobert. It feels destined one or both is off Utah’s roster this offseason. And honestly, Toronto is a strong trading partner for either Mitchell or Gobert. In this scenario, we’re rolling with Mitchell thanks to Sunday’s latest news.

Toronto officially moves all-in around a championship core consisting of Mitchell, Siakam, Fred VanVleet and 2021-22 NBA Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes. The Raptors would have a fearsome lineup with a lot of potential, vaulting themselves into the Eastern Conference’s elite tier.

The Jazz still end up with a solid haul, which includes two immediate starters in Anunoby and Trent. Who knows, Anunoby and Trent could both thrive in a new system like Utah’s — especially if Gobert is still around.

Phoenix Suns

Raptors receive: Deandre Ayton, Torrey Craig

Suns receive: OG Anunoby, Malachi Flynn

Trail Blazers receive: Khem Birch, future second-round picks via Toronto and Phoenix

Base-year compensation is the new buzz word being thrown around in Phoenix. How the Suns handle Deandre Ayton’s upcoming restricted free agency will tell us how exactly they plan to fix or dissolve their relationship. After an ugly ending in the postseason, will Phoenix feel inclined to run it back with Ayton while also handing over a max contract in the process?

Serious questions loom around Ayton’s long-term future in Phoenix, and the Raptors’ need for a center seems to be obvious. Would a Suns-Raptors trade involving Ayton turn into a win-win scenario? Personally, I think so because of how both teams would look after an Ayton-Anunoby swap. For salary purposes, Toronto sends Birch to Portland, who receives two future second-round picks for playing its part in the deal.

Anunoby in the Suns’ system is such an intriguing thought. He would slide right into Jae Crowder's starting power forward spot and be an upgrade. Mikal Bridges alongside Anunoby is an incredible defensive combination to envision for Phoenix too.

If the Suns and Ayton are indeed heading for a divorce, Toronto could become the ideal trade partner.

Oklahoma City Thunder

Raptors receive: Darius Bazley, No. 12 pick, No. 30 pick, 2023 first-round pick via Denver, 2024 first-round pick (top-five protected)

Thunder receive: OG Anunoby

At some point, the Thunder need to consolidate their endless amounts of future first-round picks. Projected to have three first-round picks each year from 2022-2026, the rebuild attempt ongoing in Oklahoma City is bordering on historic. Thunder general manager Sam Presti has taken an incredibly forward-thinking approach with this core, and the progress is beginning to show along the way.

Adding a piece like Anunoby into the Thunder’s rebuild would be an excellent transaction, especially when you consider his fit alongside Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey. Able to play any role in the Thunder’s frontcourt, Anunoby could be utilized as a two-way chess piece.

It’s going to take a lot for the Raptors to trade Anunoby, and that's if they are even interested at this early stage of their offseason. The Thunder are one of the rare teams who could provide Toronto with ample amounts of return on an Anunoby deal. Sending out four (!!) first-round picks in this deal, it still doesn’t impact Oklahoma City’s war chests of assets that much.

For the Raptors, they would now be projected to have multiple first-round picks over the next three years. Instantly, Toronto becomes a top team to watch out trading for a disgruntled superstar down the line, potenially with Utah for Mitchell or Gobert. Giving away a player like Anunoby would be tough, but OKC at least offers significant draft capital in return for the underrated two-way wing.

Who knows if the Raptors actually decide to pull the trigger on trading him, but expect to see plenty of teams calling over the next few months to inquire.

Whether it be using Anunoby to bring back future flexibility and draft capital or a star-level player, the possibilities become endless for a splashy trade involving Toronto.

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