NBA exec says O.G. Anunoby will try to ‘break the bank’ with New York Knicks extension

Peter Dewey
3 Min Read
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

One NBA executive believes that New York Knicks forward O.G. Anunoby will try to “break the bank” with an extension with the team.

Anunoby, who was traded to the Knicks during the 2023-24 season in a deal that sent RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley to the Toronto Raptors, has been terrific for the Knicks when he’s been able to play. The former first-round pick has dealt with an elbow injury that has caused him to miss significant time.

He has a player option on his deal for more than $19 million in the 2024-25 season, but Anunoby could opt out to become an unrestricted free agent following the 2023-24 season.

One Eastern Conference general manager believes that the Knicks should be worried about the forward’s injury history.

“It has to worry you,” the general manager told Heavy Sports. “He is going to get a lot of money from the Knicks, but he is starting to look like a player who is just injury-prone and that makes you nervous, paying him that much.”

After playing 74 games in his rookie season, Anunoby has not played in more than 69 games in a season since then.

Since being traded to the Knicks, Anunoby is averaging 14.5 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.7 steals per game while shooting 49.7 percent from the field. New York has thrived when he’s been in the lineup, going 15-2 in 17 games.

“He will try to break the bank there,” the exec said. “Why not? They can’t afford to lose him. Not a max deal or anything, but I think from his side, it is going to look more like $40 million per year, something like four years and $160 million.”

That’s a major price for Anunoby, but he has fit well alongside Jalen Brunson in the Knicks’ lineup. New York hasn’t been able to get a long look at Brunson, Anunoby and Julius Randle playing together since Randle (shoulder) and Anunoby (elbow) have missed a lot of time since getting hurt in late January.

Randle has yet to return since dislocating his shoulder in a win over the Miami Heat back on Jan. 27.

It would be surprising to see the Knicks move on from Anunoby after dealing for him this season, so it’s likely the team will have to pay a major price to keep him in New York for the long haul.

New York currently holds the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference and sits just 1.5 games back of the Cleveland Cavaliers for the No. 3 seed.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball, football and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.