Despite recent speculation about OG Anunoby being unhappy with his role on the team, the Raptors are not actively looking to trade the small forward.
In recent weeks there has been speculation about OG Anunoby‘s future in Toronto, as a result of a report from Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report. Fischer claimed the player grew dissatisfied at times with his role with the Raptors this past season, after the emergence of Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes.
This subsequently led to Anunoby being linked with several teams, including the Portland Trailblazers and Utah Jazz. However, there are several reasons why it seems unlikely he will actually be leaving the Raptors anytime soon.
For a start, Fischer did write that the speculation regarding Anunoby’s dissatisfaction came from sources in rival front offices. He went on to add two sources with knowledge of the dynamic told him the small forward had not directly expressed discontent about his situation with the Raptors.
In this respect, the Raptors themselves seem to be extremely happy with Anunoby, who still has three seasons remaining on a four-year, $72 million contract. He is a top level, shutdown defender, who can effectively cover any position on the court and still has intriguing upside.
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Even justified criticism of the 24-year-old’s offensive game can be countered by his continued growth in this area. During his five seasons in the NBA, he has seen his scoring average improve from 5.9 in his rookie year, to a career best 17.1 during the 2021-22 campaign.
Perhaps the only genuine reason for any concern on the Raptors’ part, would relate to Anunoby’s health and durability. He was limited to 48 regular season games during the most recent campaign and has leg issues dating back to his college career.
This aside, there is still no indication the Raptors want to part company with Anunoby, who is considered one of their core roster members. Of course, in the business of professional sports, you can never say never.
In this respect, while league sources have told HoopsHype that the Raptors are not actively looking to trade Anunoby, a substantial offer could make them reconsider. More specifically, this would have to be something along the lines of a top-10 draft pick or major upgrade at the center position.
There is no denying that in the Harlesden, London native, the Raptors have a valuable asset who could indeed demand a significant return. However, from our perspective it still seems unlikely that he will be traded.
Raptors head coach Nick Nurse takes a lot of pride in focusing on defense, with excellent schemes and the team usually near the top of the rankings. Anunoby is a pivotal piece of this focus.
The Raptors are theoretically in a strong position too, given the length remaining on Anunoby’s aforementioned current deal. If he is unhappy, then it is to be hoped he will approach Nurse to discuss the matter further.
At the end of the day, as much as Nurse and his coaching staff will do whatever is feasible to appease Anunoby, they are all about the team. In addition, if he continues to struggle to remain healthy, they have no choice but to rely more on other players such as Barnes.
Ultimately, expect Anunoby to still be playing in Toronto next season. He will only be traded if the Raptors want to move him, not because he is (allegedly) unhappy with his role on the team.
What is your prediction in respect of where Anunoby will play next season. Do you believe he will still be with the Raptors, or moved to another team? Let us know in the comments section below.