NBA rumors: Western contender had “high interest” in OG Anunoby trade

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 2: O.G. Anunoby #3 of the Toronto Raptors reacts against the Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 2: O.G. Anunoby #3 of the Toronto Raptors reacts against the Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors have had two golden opportunities to trade away star two-way forward OG Anunoby, but Masai Ujiri let the 2022-23 trade deadline and almost the entire NBA offseason come and go without a deal materializing. Anunoby is still a Raptor despite his impending free agency.

With a Pascal Siakam trade standing out as more difficult to pull off and a more emphatic white flag waive, moving Anunoby has often been discussed as the best way for the Raptors to recoup assets and still field a team that could end up making some noise in the postseason.

The Memphis Grizzlies, who could use another high-impact wing alongside Desmond Bane that can make up for the suspension of Ja Morant, have been snooping around Anunoby in the past. The latest buzz makes it sound like Memphis was more interested in a trade than previously indicated.

According to Tim MacMahon on the “Hoop Collective” podcast, the Grizzlies had “high, high interest” in trading for Anunoby in the offseason. This was a continuation of Memphis’ reported interest in acquiring the All-Defensive team forward at the trade deadline.

Interest seems to have died down after the initial wave, however, as many of the tradeable contracts that Memphis could have sent over to the Raptors are no longer available. The Raptors may still trade Anunoby, but the Grizzlies were willing and able to pull off this deal.

NBA rumors: Grizzlies were interested in Toronto Raptors’ OG Anunoby.

In both Anunoby and Siakam talks, Ujiri has reportedly been eyeing first-round draft picks and young, controllable contracts. Outside of Ziaire Williams, none of Memphis’ best young players are non-essential enough to be traded, yet good enough to be viewed as a positive asset by the Raptors.

While MacMahon said that Memphis was unwilling to trade four first-round picks (the going rate for Nets star Mikal Bridges) for Anunoby, they were willing to send “multiple” picks to Toronto. Unfortunately, after trading for Marcus Smart, their collection of assets is depleted.

If the Grizzlies somehow scrounge together the assets needed for Anunoby, and give him the contract he is seeking, Memphis could easily contend for a championship as Morant enters his prime. The Grizzlies will need to check back in on the Raptors a few months down the line if they are still interested in OG.