The hottest name on the 2023 NBA trade market is seemingly Raptors swingman O.G. Anunoby. A prototypical 3-and-D wing, Anunoby could fetch multiple first-round draft picks and an intriguing prospect or two if Toronto decides to move on from him. A skilled defender and career 37.1% three-point shooter, players of Anunoby’s caliber rarely become available around the deadline. He can fit seamlessly into any playoff hopeful’s rotation. And with the league so wide open, you can argue Anunoby would be a difference maker for several teams. Though it’s not definitive the Raptors will move him, it’s hard to imagine O.G.’s trade value going any higher than it is now. So with all that in mind, here are the most fun destinations Anunoby could end up in come Feb. 9.
Fun but unrealistic
Denver is my dream destination for Anunoby, but I’m not sure how they pull it off. Michael Porter Jr.’s contract is probably a little too rich for Toronto, and the Nuggets have a bunch of first-round picks tied up in other trades. The only way I really see this happening is if it’s a three-teamer, with some other team that’s really infatuated with MPJ that helps Denver by sending picks to Toronto. And the Nuggets also maybe acquire another first to move in this scenario by dealing Bones Hyland. See how complicated this is already? A Jamal Murray–Kentavious Caldwell-Pope–Aaron Gordon–Anunoby–Nikola Jokić lineup would be filthy. Unfortunately, it may only ever be a fantasy.
The Heat are probably a little too star-obsessed for Pat Riley to drop his picks on the table for Anunoby. And having Duncan Robinson as their only relevant movable contract doesn’t help. Miami is currently desperate for someone of Anunoby’s two-way prowess. He would alleviate the Heat’s shooting concerns while also giving the team another switchable defender. For a team struggling to get over the hump, Anunoby could be a much-needed energizing force.
Realistic But Less Fun
The Knicks are reportedly interested in Anunoby and have the draft capital to make things interesting. Would this be the best destination for O.G.? I would personally rather see him on a team closer to winning a championship. The strategy of trying to acquire good players is a solid one for the Knicks, though. The Jalen Brunson–led squad has been frisky, and watching Anunoby and R.J. Barrett get after it defensively would be fun. Would this move get the Knicks out of the first round of the playoffs? I’m not so sure.
Now We’re Talking
How about James Wiseman, Moses Moody, Ryan Rollins, and a 2027 unprotected first for Anunoby? Maybe throw one more protected first in there? I’m not sure which fan base will get upset with me first. Anyway, Golden State should be loading up with Stephen Curry still playing at an elite level. I don’t know how the Warriors’ front office has escaped the scorn that, say, the Lakers haven’t. Obviously Golden State has trophies falling out of its pockets at this point. Still, ownership shouldn’t let its foot off the gas. Give up on the two timelines and go for it all while the core is still in place.
Anunoby would give the Dubs an absolutely terrifying closing five alongside Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins. He can be part of the future group of role players along with Wiggins and Jordan Poole. And he gives Steve Kerr a lot of lineup flexibility with his current roster.
Is the return enough for Toronto? The Raptors are starved for bigs, and I believe Wiseman can still be a solid contributor in the right situation. Moody can play. And the firsts can come far enough in the future to account for short-term success.
The Most Fun
I won’t give up on the Suns. After a huge post-Christmas swoon, Phoenix has stabilized with Chris Paul back in the lineup. The Suns are 6–1 in their last seven games, and Devin Booker’s return should be on the horizon. Adding Anunoby could help restore the Suns’ contender status and give this team the jolt in the arm it needs after a couple of roller-coaster years. Phoenix has the draft picks and contracts to make it happen. If the Suns can trot out Paul, Booker, Mikal Bridges, Anunoby and Deandre Ayton in the postseason—provided everyone is healthy—they would be as dangerous as anybody else.
Having said all of that, if we really want to throw some gas on the fire, how about sending Anunoby to Memphis? If the Grizzlies pull off this move without giving up Dillon Brooks, they may become the definitive favorite out West. This would be a home run trade for Memphis, and it’s one I hope the front office considers seriously.
Anunoby would fit right in on an already suffocating defense. He would be a much less chaotic option than Brooks on the perimeter and every bit as solid a defender, with more length and much better shooting. O.G. could also play in small lineups alongside Brooks with Jaren Jackson Jr. at center. And at only 25 years old, Anunoby can contribute with the current Memphis core for many years to come.
Giving up two to three picks isn’t easy for a small market like the Grizzlies, especially when they draft so well. But this would be a statement move from Memphis. This team’s time to win is now. Adding Anunoby would be a bold proclamation that the Grizz believe they have enough star power to get the job done this season.