Big trades in December don’t happen frequently, but one slipped past before the year ended after the Toronto Raptors sent widely coveted forward OG Anunoby to the New York Knicks, making sure that the Philadelphia 76ers miss out on another one of their trade targets this season.
Toronto received RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley as the main components of New York’s return package, signaling that the Raptors intend to remain competitive with a retooled core instead of trying to bottom out and rebuild around franchise star Scottie Barnes.
Anyway, what does this trade mean for the 76ers?
The 76ers missed out on OG Anunoby, who was traded from the Raptors to the Knicks
Missing out on Anunoby means the 76ers will probably be best served staying put for the meantime. No other player of the same archetype and level is available for plucking, giving the front office less incentive to strike a deal this season and keep the roster intact, which is far from the worse scenario considering the team’s current success.
As a result, efforts to give the forward position a facelift will have to come next year in free agency, where the 76ers are expected to be major players anyway. But with Anunoby unlikely to just jump ship despite his looming free agency, Philly’s brass will have to go big in the lack of a viable, floor-raising alternative such as Anunoby.
On the basketball side, New York being Anunoby’s landing spot gives Philadelphia another competitor who can make noise in the playoffs. The lanky forward tremendously raises their already fine defense, while jettisoning Barrett and to a lesser degree, Quickly, clarifies roles further and optimizes the pecking order on the offensive end.
Ultimately, the Philadelphia 76ers are losers in this deal. OG Anunoby provides a clear upgrade in a position of need. Instead, he now goes to a rival team while the front office now has a smaller margin of error in next year’s free agency or in the current stylings of the trade market.