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June 26, 2024

Report: Rumored Sixers target OG Anunoby returns to Knicks

OG Anunoby is reportedly returning to the New York Knicks on a lucrative five-year deal.

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OG Anunoby 6.26.24 Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports

OG Anunoby will not sign with the Sixers next week, as he is returning to the New York Knicks on a five-year deal.

The New York Knicks just keep on pushing their chips in: not even 24 hours after acquiring Mikal Bridges from the Brooklyn Nets, the team agreed to a five-year, $212.5 million deal with OG Anunoby, solidifying themselves as having one of the best and most versatile wing tandems in the NBA.

Early indications following the Bridges trade were that the Knicks were still going to prioritize keeping Anunoby in the fold -- even if it meant losing center Isaiah Hartenstein -- and those whispers were true. 

It is a massive deal for Anunoby, a wonderful player in his own right but not exactly a star-caliber player as of now. The Knicks appear to have locked in a core that includes Jalen Brunson, Bridges, Anunoby, Julius Randle, Donte DiVincenzo, Josh Hart, Mitchell Robinson and Miles McBride. Not too shabby.

With the Sixers' reported pursuit of Paul George reportedly dying out and the team seemingly looking elsewhere, many connected them to Anunoby as they seek a high-profile player to put next to their All-Star duo of Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey, with a wing being the ideal form of said player.

But with Anunoby securing a five-year deal worth an average of $42.5 million per year to remain in New York, it is evident that the Sixers likely never stood a chance of prying him away: the most they could have offered Anunoby was a four-year deal worth $181,890,000, good for an average annual value of $45.4 million.

It is hard to imagine Anunoby leaving an ideal situation for him in New York and sacrificing the security of a fifth year for a very slight bump in annual pay. And, to be frank, the Sixers signing him to that hypothetical deal would have set off massive alarm bells.

Anunoby is a great player who would fit well on just about any team, and impacts winning on both ends of the floor. But he is not nearly as good of a scorer as the vast majority of players in his new price range and fits best as a fourth option on offense (which is what he will be in New York moving forward). Additionally, he constantly grapples with injuries that prevent him from staying on the floor consistently. 

It is entirely understandable for the Knicks to pay him whatever was required to keep him around as they go all-out in their pursuit of a championship -- even if the contract has a high probability of aging poorly. But the Sixers avoided potential catastrophe here.

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