The Toronto Raptors‘ fanbase was dealt a significant punch in the gut when Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report made it known that teams around the league were interested in trading for OG Anunoby. Losing a quality player on an affordable contract struck many within the fanbase as a puzzling move.
Still, with Toronto’s issue at the center position well-documented, Anunoby being moved for a center who could come in and be a game-changer is something with a real (albeit slight) chance of coming to fruition. After another standout season, it’s easy to see why teams are interested.
Trading Anunoby would be a sharp about-face from Masai Ujiri and the front office, as they have previously been extremely adamant that he is a part of the long-term core. Comments from assistant GM Dan Tolzman yesterday seem to suggest that Anunoby isn’t going anywhere.
Tolzman said that he is not going to comment on those rumors because he doesn’t “see any reason why that would be real.” When asked about the Portland Trail Blazers, who own the No. 7 overall pick in the 2022 Draft in addition to some young players, Tolzman said that it would be “really tough” to find someone as good as OG in the lottery.
The Toronto Raptors likely won’t trade OG Anunoby.
Anunoby averaged 17.1 points per game on 44% shooting last year despite missing tons of time due to injuries. With elite defense at multiple positions and an affordable contract, Anunoby is likely not going to be moved unless a borderline All-Star is coming to Toronto in the return package.
While outside sources might have pigeon-holed him as a funky fit alongside Scottie Barnes and Pascal Siakam, Toronto’s switch-heavy defense requires multiple similarly-sized players adept at locking up numerous offensive standouts. Few in this league are better in that area than Anunoby.
Anunoby is an ascending talent who continues to improve on offense. Even though Barnes will likely take on a greater scoring role in his second season, Anunoby is going to be a big part of what Toronto does and their plan to move forward as a championship contender.
Teams across the league would love to have a quality scorer and top-shelf defender on a contract that is far below market value for someone of his caliber. With all of those factors in play, Ujiri will likely hold onto his prized first-rounder and try to build around him.