The NBA Trade Deadline is less than two weeks away, and it seems like we could be entering an extremely chaotic deadline across the league. There aren’t many teams that are really out of playoff contention right now, which may encourage teams to be aggressive in pulling off deals. There are many players who are looking likely to be available, but one of the more surprising names on the market is OG Anunoby.
Anunoby has become a really solid player for the Toronto Raptors, but their 23-28 record doesn’t even see them making the Play-In Tournament this season. Anunoby is still under contract for one more season, but with Toronto flirting with a potential rebuild, it seems like pretty much every one of their players is on the market ahead of the deadline.
There are many teams that would want Anunoby on their roster, and one such team that could try to swing a deal for him would be the Phoenix Suns, who may need to make some big moves at the deadline. Trading for Anunoby would be a good move for Phoenix, but let’s take a look at this hypothetical trade from Michael Pina of The Ringer and see why this deal in particular doesn’t make sense.
This hypothetical OG Anunoby trade doesn’t make much sense
This hypothetical trade would be relatively straightforward, as it would see the Suns land Anunoby from the Raptors in return for Jae Crowder, Dario Saric, and three unprotected first-round draft picks in 2024, 2026, and 2028. Immediately, this would be a wild overpay for the Suns, and if this is the price for Anunoby, chances are he won’t be getting moved.
Anunoby is a really strong two-way player for the Raptors at the small forward position, and even though he’s putting together what may be the best season of his career (16.9 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 2 APG, 2.1 SPG, 45.7 FG%) this is a ridiculously high price for him. Anunoby is 25, and has a season and a half left on a team-friendly deal, but there’s almost no way he’s going to accept his player option for the 2024-25 season that is in his current deal, meaning he would be a free agent after next season.
There’s no doubt Anunoby would help the Suns, who have been struggling mightily in Devin Booker’s absence, but they already have a player just like Anunoby on their roster in Mikal Bridges. Bridges fits the same profile as Anunoby, but he’s a more well-rounded offensive player, and you can make an argument his defensive contributions are greater than Anunoby’s, even though Anunoby is leading the league in steals per game right now.
Beyond that, the Suns would be paying way too much to land Anunoby here. Crowder hasn’t played for them at all this season, but he’s their most valuable trade asset that can bring something in for the Suns to use or make other deals or shore up their rotation. Saric also has value as a versatile big man, and while he hasn’t been mightily impressive this season, the Raptors could probably use him in their lineup immediately.
Even then, giving up three first-round picks, all of which are unprotected nonetheless, would be insane. Again, Anunoby is a good player, but this deal would see the Suns give up far more than the Atlanta Hawks gave up to get Dejounte Murray over the offseason, who is a far better player than Anunoby.
Phoenix could be convinced that they are going to contend in the future, but their future as a whole is up in the air. Sure, they have Booker and Deandre Ayton, but Chris Paul is going to be retiring soon, and it feels like the Suns championship window might have already closed based on how poor they have been this season.
There’s a chance these picks could end up being lottery picks in the future, so giving them up without any protections for just Anunoby would be ludicrous. He’s simply not that good of a player. Of course, if this trade offer came across the Raptors desk, they would accept it in a heartbeat, because it’s a wild overpay for a player who is good, but not necessarily great, which is what this trade package is implying he is.
The concept of trading for Anunoby if you are the Suns makes sense, but it makes absolutely no sense if it were to be done at this absurd price. Maybe one unprotected pick would be worth it, but three? Absolutely not. Anunoby could still get moved, but if the Raptors are looking for some sort of crazy trade package like we see here, there’s not a chance he will get dealt at the deadline.