Bleacher Report insider Jake Fischer was one of the first and loudest NBA writers to report that the Toronto Raptors were going to take Scottie Barnes over Jalen Suggs in the 2021 NBA Draft. Fischer is also banging the OG Anunoby trade rumors drum this offseason, but fans seem to be less receptive to those reports.
Fischer is not only reporting that Anunoby is being discussed in trade talks, but that several Raptors are not happy with their roles in Toronto. Considering that Anunoby had his best offensive season on a team that won 48 games, that would undoubtedly come as a surprise.
For a team that has seemed like one of the most unified and cohesive squads in the game, a big piece suddenly wanting out would be a system shock that comes out of left field. Barnes was not happy with Anunoby’s name being (in his mind) unfairly maligned, and he left Fischer know how displeased he was with the report.
While he was streaming NBA2K, Barnes was upset that Fischer decided to follow him on Instagram. Barnes called it “sickening” that Fischer tried to follow him after throwing Anunoby’s name in the rumor mill. This seems like an emphatic denial that shows Anunoby isn’t going anywhere.
Toronto Raptors star Scottie Barnes hinted that OG Anunoby is happy.
Barnes has already denied the rumors of Anunoby being dissatisfied, calling it “bad news” on the day the story broke. Considering Anunoby averaged 17.1 points per game with some near-elite defense, trading an ascending player on a cheap contract would be a backward move from this organization.
While some around the league think Barnes is making Anunoby redundant because of their similar physical makeup and play style, that versatility is precisely why Toronto should look to keep this pairing together. Both Anunoby and Barnes project to be valuable long-term contributors.
If Anunoby is being asked for in a trade that would bring a game-changing star, then Masai Ujiri should pick up the phone. However, this is highly unlikely to come to fruition. Trading Anunoby for the sake of trading him and giving Barnes more shots would be a short-sighted move, and Barnes is well aware of this.
Raptors fans should be very encouraged by this development, as Barnes’ vitriol seems to suggest that Fischer’s report may lean on speculation from rival executives rather than buzz from the Toronto locker room. Fischer, meanwhile, might want to cross Barnes off of his Christmas card list.