Toronto Raptors rising star Scottie Barnes reportedly declined to speak with the media after Toronto’s game on Saturday and was “visibly upset” about the Raptors’ trade sending O.G. Anunoby, Precious Achiuwa and Malachi Flynn to the New York Knicks.
The Raptors acquired wing RJ Barrett, guard Immanuel Quickley and a second-round pick in exchange for Anunoby, Achiuwa and Flynn.
“None of this should confuse people about the Raptors’ being some sort of in-fighting soap opera of a team,” The Athletic’s Eric Koreen wrote. “Barnes declined to speak to the media after the game, visibly upset about the trade, even if it was done with his future in mind. Anunoby and Achiuwa were Barnes’ post-practice shooting partners, and this was the first big trade he has witnessed firsthand.”
The move gives the Raptors another young guard (Quickley) that fits well next to Barnes. The newcomer is averaging 15.0 points per game this season while shooting 39.5 percent from 3-point range.
Quickley played a bench role for the Knicks, but he may have a chance to start in Toronto. Barrett is also a solid young piece for the Raptors as a former top-three draft pick.
Despite the Raptors committing to building around Barnes, it appears the young star wasn’t too happy to see some of his closest teammates traded away.
Toronto failed to make the playoffs last season, and the team has gotten off to a slow start in the 2023-24 campaign, going 12-20 in its first 32 games. The Raptors lost to the Detroit Pistons, snapping the Pistons’ lengthy losing streak, on Saturday.
Clearly, Toronto wants to build a contender around Barnes, and it likely was worried about losing Anunoby in the offseason. Anunoby has a player option for the 2024-25 season that he could decline to become a free agent.
On the other hand, Barrett is under contract for multiple seasons, and Quickley will be a restricted free agent this coming offseason, which means Toronto will have the ability match any offer sheet that he signs.
Barnes has been solid so far in the 2023-24 season, averaging 21.0 points, 9.4 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game while shooting 48.3 percent from the field and 39.0 percent from beyond the arc.
He’s taken a major step from his second season in the NBA when he averaged just 15.3 points per game and shot 28.1 percent from beyond the arc.
It’ll be interesting to see how Barnes fits alongside his new teammates in the coming weeks.