One of the Knicks faithful’s major qualms heading into this pivotal offseason has been put to bed early, as New York has agreed to a massive deal with star wing OG Anunoby, which will keep him in orange and blue for the next five seasons.
The contract is worth $212.5 million in total, the richest deal given in Knicks history

Anunoby was dealt to New York from the Raptors in a December blockbuster, where the Knicks gave up fan favorites Immanuel Quickley and RJ Barret in exchange for OG, power forward Precious Achiuwa, and Malachi Flynn, who was dealt to Detroit a couple of months later at the trade deadline.

The two-way wonder wing instantly had a significant impact on a Knicks squad that was struggling at the time. In 23 total regular season games with the Knicks, he averaged 14.1 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game. He also finished with a +353 plus-minus with New York this past season. When Anunoby started his Knicks tenure, they sat at 17-15, coming off a rough stretch of games. In his first game, he helped the team to an impressive 112-106 win over the Timberwolves, and they didn’t look back after that. With Anunoby on the squad, the Knicks surged to an NBA-best 14-2 record in January, catapulting them from the outskirts of the playoff picture to a top-three team in the East for almost the entirety of the remainder of the season, as they finished 50-32 at second in the East. 

Anunoby did have injury troubles down the stretch of this past season, as after he sustained an elbow injury in late January, he would not return to the court until March 12th. He would then miss another period of time before returning for a final crucial stretch of six games at the end of the regular season. The Knicks went an incredible 20-3 with OG Anunoby in the regular season, and in large part, thanks to his efforts, they were able to claim a series victory over the 76ers in the first round. 

In game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals series against Indiana, the Knicks came away with an inspiring comeback victory, and Anunoby was right at the center of it. He was having a career night with 28 points in 28 minutes, along with four rebounds and three assists, before going down with a hamstring injury with minutes left in the third, which seemed to significantly impact the end result of the series. He would return for an incredibly valiant five minutes in game 7 at the Garden, where it looked like he could barely move, but after that, he had to watch from the bench as the Knicks season ended. 

This news comes right on the heels of the Knicks getting a blockbuster deal done with their crosstown rivals, the Brooklyn Nets, as Mikal Bridges is coming across the river to join the Knickerbockers and his three former college teammates. Anunoby and Bridges have drawn many parallels in their careers so far. They are similar heights, with Bridges at 6’6 and Anunoby at 6’7. They are two of the most desirable wings in the NBA, both bringing many elements of strong offensive play and versatile and impressive defense, being able to guard every position of any other team well.

It is interesting to note also that Immanuel Quickley, one of the two main pieces of the package the Knicks sent over to Toronto in exchange for Anunoby, signed a 5 year $175 million deal with the Raptors after the Knicks locked down Anunoby. 

This deal was reported on Wednesday night, as rumors flew around about other potential suitors for Anunoby as anticipation grew surrounding his impending unrestricted free agent status. According to SNY’s Ian Begley, Anunoby would have had max offers from other places but saw the vision with the Knicks and wanted to help build a true contender in New York.

This was a crucial move for the Knicks as they look to continue to put together their squad for the upcoming and highly anticipated 2024-2025 season, where New York looks to make a title push that they haven’t been in a position to make in decades. However, there is still much work to be done for Leon Rose and the rest of the Knicks front office.

The NBA Free Agency negotiating period officially begins at 6:00 PM ET on Sunday, June 30th. Today marks two years since the Knicks signed Jalen Brunson, a decision that altered the trajectory of the franchise.  It also marks five years since the Knicks lost out on Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant to Brooklyn and signed Julius Randle instead.

While both those decisions at the time were much to the chagrin of the orange and blue faithful, things sure have changed in the past several years, and now those decisions, with the groundwork that Leon Rose, Tom Thibodeau, and the entire Knicks organization have laid down and built upon, have primed the Knicks to be able to really put up a fight for a title that would mean everything to the city of New York.

As free agency begins, attention turns to another impending Knicks free agent, Isaiah Hartenstein. The electric center, who was an incredibly important piece to the Knicks’ magical run to game 7 of the second round, is set to become an unrestricted free agent and has several potential options that could possibly offer him a more fruitful contract than the Knicks are able to. The Knicks were able to save some money during a successful draft this past week, but will it be enough to keep their big man?

The question of Harteinstein and more will be answered soon as the Knicks look to continue retaining the pieces of their squad and adding, building, and improving upon the team as the summer continues and New York looks towards the 2024-2025 NBA season with feelings of hope and excitement not felt around the Knicks in years.

Knicks faithful see the vision, and even though he could have had many other fruitful offers elsewhere in free agency, the fan-favorite star wing sees the vision, too; OG Anunoby is here to stay.

PHOTO: Getty Images

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