OG Anunoby recently agreed to a $72 million contract extension, that includes a player option for the 2024-2025 season, to stay with the Toronto Raptors for at least four more years.
Toronto Raptors fans do not have to worry about the thought of no OG Anunoby next year anymore because he agreed to a contract extension.
OG Anunoby will at least be with the Raptors for four years. He is also entering his fourth year in the NBA with a career average of 7.8 points per game, 3.5 rebounds per game, and one assist per game. Last season he averaged 10.6 PPG, 5.3 RPG, and 1.6 APG. This season, the expectation for Anunoby is to improve his numbers and break out. In fact, I believe that he can be a most improved player candidate this season. So, keeping Anunoby was a priority for the Raptors.
With Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol gone, this gives Anunoby the opportunity to get more touches and score the ball more. He is known to be a good Three-and-D player. But he can be more than that this season and he will have the opportunity to show that.
We saw glimpses of what he can do during the bubble when he shot that game-winning three-point shot. It’s Anunoby’s time to break out and help the team by scoring more than 15 points a game while doing the usual Anunobyisms that he does.
He also got a big payday that secures him (financially) till 2024. For the Raptors side, it means that they believe in the player that he is right now and the player he will become in the near future.
How does the extension benefit the Toronto Raptors?
If Anunoby didn’t sign the extension, he would have been a restricted free agent during the 2021 offseason. Being a restricted free agent is different than an unrestricted free agent. An unrestricted free agent is that an NBA player can sign with any team whereas a restricted free agent can only sign an offer sheet with any team except the team he was with before the off-season starts. That team can straight up re-sign him right away or match the contract offer from the other team within the next few days.
He got a contract worth $72 million over four years before the 6 pm rookie contract extension deadline for the 2017 rookie class on Dec.21. He could have still got the same deal from the Raptors in the offseason, but for the Raptors’ sake, it was better for him to sign it before the deadline.
If Anunoby became a free agent in the summer and signed an offer with another team but we matched it, that could hurt our remaining cap space.
The Raptors had cap space around the estimate of $23-34 million to spend. Every Raptors’ fans knew that Raptors President Masai Ujiri and General Manager Bobby Webster wanted to use that money to sign Giannis Antetokounmpo to the team. That’s not going to happen because Antetokounmpo signed a contract extension with the Milwaukee Bucks a couple of weeks ago. But Toronto still can use that money to sign other free agents to improve the team.
According to ESPN’s NBA front office insider Bobby Marks, Anunoby’s value was around four years worth $ 70 million. However, with Luke Kennard signing a contract extension with the Los Angeles Clippers worth $64 million for four years, Marks thought that Anunoby value will go up whether he signs the contract before the extension deadline or in free agency.
If that contract was bigger than it should have been then the Raptors lose a good chunk of their cap space which won’t give them the flexibility to sign top free agents. There’s also a chance that they don’t re-sign Anunoby because they don’t want to overpay him, so they let him walk.
Thankfully, we do not have to live in that scenario now. And according to Bobby Marks and The Athletics Raptors writer Blake Murphy, Anunoby’s contract only takes $4 million of cap space. Therefore, the Raptors are able to keep Anunoby beyond this year while spending their money to improve the team.
With Anunoby’s extension, the Toronto Raptors are able to keep their young core team of Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, and himself and build around them. The future of the team looks promising with those three players staying long-term.