OG Anunoby

Knicks Rumors: Anunoby, Hartenstein, Thibodeau, Brunson, Bojan, More

The expectation around the NBA is that OG Anunoby‘s floor as a free agent this offseason is $35MM per year, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype said during the latest HoopsHype podcast. Anunoby’s ceiling is a maximum-salary contract, though two general managers who spoke to Scotto said a max deal for the three-and-D star would be difficult to swallow, given his injury history.

While Scotto, Ian Begley of SNY.tv, and Stefan Bondy of The New York Post all view the Knicks as the strong favorites to sign Anunoby, they point out that the team could face some competition if Paul George returns to the Clippers, since he’s considered the top target for cap-room teams like the Sixers, who could shift their focus to Anunoby if they miss out on George. Begley and Bondy each suggests that if the Knicks re-sign Anunoby, the deal might include some protections or incentives related to games played.

As for the Knicks’ other top free agent, a pair of GMs told Scotto that they expect New York to have to offer the full Early Bird amount (four years, $72.5MM) for Isaiah Hartenstein, since the team can’t afford to lose him, though those GMs acknowledged that a contract of that size might not be very movable down the road.

Scotto hears that the Thunder, who have been cited as a possible rival suitor for Hartenstein, are likely to be focused on shorter-term deals for any top free agent targets, which could give the Knicks an advantage if they’re willing to go up to four years. According to Bondy, there’s some speculation that Oklahoma City could offer “something in the realm” of $50MM over two years for Hartenstein, perhaps with a second-year opt-out, like the deal Bruce Brown got from Indiana last summer. However, it’s possible the veteran center would prefer longer-term security.

Here’s more on the Knicks from the HoopsHype podcast:

  • A contract extension for head coach Tom Thibodeau appears to be a matter of “when rather than if,” according to Scotto. Discussing potential terms, Bondy predicts a three-year, $33MM deal, while Begley speculates that Thibodeau may just get two new guaranteed seasons, with a third-year team option.
  • Both Bondy and Begley view Jalen Brunson as more likely than Julius Randle to sign an extension this offseason, even though Brunson could potentially sign a much more lucrative deal if he waits one more year. As Bondy observes, one factor to consider is that signing an extension this summer would put Brunson on track to reach free agency in 2028, when he would have 10 years of NBA service under his belt and would be eligible for a starting salary worth up to 35% of the cap (instead of 30%). “That doesn’t mean he’s going to do it,” Bondy cautioned. “I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of debate with (agent) Aaron Mintz, the Knicks, and Rick and Jalen Brunson about what’s the best way to go. I think he’s going to consider it.”
  • The expectation is that the Knicks will likely guarantee Bojan Bogdanovic‘s $19MM salary for 2024/25, per Scotto. It’s currently only partially guaranteed for $2MM. The team wouldn’t generate any cap room by cutting him and would lose a big expiring contract for a possible trade, Begley adds.
  • Precious Achiuwa‘s future in New York is uncertain, especially if Hartenstein returns, since new deals for Hartenstein and Anunoby would likely push the Knicks’ team salary into tax territory. Achiuwa is eligible for restricted free agency this offseason. “I think you give him the ($6.3MM) qualifying offer and see what his market is,” Begley said. “If you need to rescind the qualifying offer for financial reasons, you can. That’s probably how it’ll go. Hartenstein’s deal is going to happen before Achiuwa, so you’ll have a chance to know whether he’ll be back before making a final decision on Achiuwa.”
  • The Knicks hold a pair of first-round picks at No. 24 and 25, but neither Bondy nor Begley expects them to use both to draft players. Assuming they use at least one of those selections, talented Virginia defender Ryan Dunn could be a target — people around the league have frequently linked him to the Knicks, per Scotto, though he could come off the board even earlier than No. 24.

Knicks Notes: George, Mitchell, Anunoby, Hartenstein

Paul George would be an “ideal fit” for the Knicks, but it won’t be easy to acquire him if he fails to reach a long-term deal with the Clippers, writes Fred Katz of The Athletic. The 34-year-old forward has a $48.8MM player option for next season that must be picked up by June 29. He’s eligible for a four-year, $221MM extension with Los Angeles, but negotiations have been at an impasse.

George’s three-point shooting, pick-and-roll skills and constant movement would help him blend seamlessly with the rest of New York’s roster, according to Katz, who adds that George and OG Anunoby would become the best pair of perimeter defenders in the league. Katz points out that George has a history of playing alongside other stars and he’s a client of CAA, which was formerly run by Knicks president Leon Rose.

New York won’t have cap space to sign George if he opts out, and the Clippers wouldn’t be permitted to sign and trade him because they’re above the second apron. The Knicks would need George to opt in to make a deal possible, and Katz is skeptical that L.A. would be in a hurry to move him if he’s under contract for another season.

Sources tell Katz that the Knicks have considered George in the past, but they’ve never made a serious offer to acquire him. That could change if he and the Clippers agree that picking up the option and being traded this summer is the best course of action.

There’s more from New York:

  • Sources also tell Katz that the Knicks’ desire to add Donovan Mitchell isn’t nearly as strong as it was two years ago. There has been speculation that the Cavaliers guard could be available again if he doesn’t agree to an extension this summer. New York made an offer to Utah for Mitchell in 2022, but Katz notes that Jalen Brunson‘s emergence into a star has diminished the need for another scoring guard. Katz also examines Mikal Bridges, Karl-Anthony Towns, Dejounte Murray and DeMar DeRozan as potential additions. Katz cites sources who say that the Nets have been offered multiple first-round picks for Bridges, but they continue to view him as part of the foundation and hope to eventually pair him with another star.
  • After their playoff run ended, members of the Knicks organization expressed confidence about their chances of re-signing both Anunoby and Isaiah Hartenstein, per Ian Begley of SNY. Begley adds that the team expects competition for both players and could be outbid for Hartenstein because league rules limit their offer to about $16MM for next season and $72.5MM over four years.
  • In a subscriber-only piece, Stefan Bondy of The New York Post examines Rose’s draft history to see if it offers any clues about what the Knicks might do with picks No. 24 and 25 this year.

O’Connor’s Latest: George, Sixers, Ingram, Anunoby

In contract negotiations with Paul George so far, the Clippers haven’t offered the star forward “a dollar more” than what they gave Kawhi Leonard earlier this year, league sources tell Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. Like George, Leonard was eligible to receive up to $221MM over four years from Los Angeles, but Kawhi agreed to a three-year, $152MM deal.

As O’Connor writes, while it’s possible that the Sixers are being used for leverage purposes to encourage Los Angeles to increase its offer, sources around the league believe Philadelphia has a legitimate chance to land George as a free agent this summer. George is the 76ers’ “Plan A” in free agency, O’Connor continues, not only because he has the sort of star-level talent the team is seeking, but because his versatility and three-and-D prowess make him an ideal fit next to Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey.

O’Connor is somewhat skeptical that Clippers owner Steve Ballmer, the richest team owner in American sports would let George walk in free agency over money. Still, he notes that if George wants to maximize his chances of competing for a title, Philadelphia might give him a better opportunity than the Clippers. Embiid is 30 years old and Maxey is just 24, whereas George’s Clippers co-stars Leonard and James Harden are 33 and 35, respectively.

Here’s more from O’Connor:

  • If the Sixers are unable to land George and potential targets like Kevin Durant and Jimmy Butler aren’t available, Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram represents Philadelphia’s Plan B, sources tell The Ringer. O’Connor acknowledges that Ingram’s fit isn’t perfect, given his “durability concerns, defensive shortcomings, and offensive inconsistencies,” but suggests that Embiid and Maxey might be able to further unlock him. Ingram remains under contract for the 2024/25 season, so the 76ers would have to trade for him.
  • O’Connor confirms a previous report from Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, stating that if the Sixers strike out on big-name targets in free agency and on the trade market, their plan is to sign players to short-term contracts like Indiana did with Bruce Brown last summer. The structure of Brown’s contract (a big first-year cap hit with a second-year team option) allowed the Pacers to use him as the primary salary-matching piece in the Pascal Siakam trade.
  • League sources tell O’Connor that OG Anunoby, who can become an unrestricted free agent by declining his 2024/25 player option, is expected to ultimately remain with the Knicks. A prior report stated that Anunoby may test the open market.

OG Anunoby To Hear Rival Offers In Free Agency?

People around the league are convinced forward Pascal Siakam will re-sign with the Pacers in free agency, according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, but the situation for Siakam’s former teammate OG Anunoby may not be as “cut and dried.”

Executives left last week’s draft combine believing that Anunoby could end up testing his value on the open market by listening to offers from rival teams in addition to the Knicks, sources tell Fischer.

Fischer acknowledges it could end up being a ploy for negotiating leverage, but the Sixers are among the teams with interest in the 3-and-D standout, who could receive $30-40MM annually on his next deal in free agency. Anunoby holds a $19.9MM player option for 2024/25 that he’s “widely expected to decline,” Fischer writes.

One change in the new CBA that will take effect this summer is that teams are officially permitted to negotiate with their own free agents the first day after the NBA Finals conclude. The latest that could occur would be June 24, a couple days before the draft.

That theoretically gives incumbent teams an advantage, as teams can begin negotiating with outside free agents on June 30 at 5:00 pm CT. Everyone knows negotiations often begin weeks in advance though, which is why so many deals are reported shortly after 5:00 on June 30.

Anunoby retained his Bird rights when he was traded from Toronto to New York at the end of December. That will allow the Knicks to go over the salary cap to offer him a five-year deal up to his maximum salary for ’24/25. The 26-year-old just finished his seventh NBA season, so his max over five years is projected to be worth $245.34M. The most a rival team could offer him would be $181.89MM over four years.

While he is undoubtedly extremely valuable — including the playoffs, the Knicks went 26-6 in games he played and just 13-14 without him — Anunoby has also missed extended time due to injuries throughout his career. He has only averaged 52 regular season games over the past four seasons, including 50 this season after undergoing elbow surgery. A hamstring injury in Game 2 of the Eastern semifinals essentially ended his season, though he attempted to play in Game 7.

Knicks Notes: Offseason, Hart, Thibodeau, Anunoby

Trading for an All-Star has been a path the Knicks have explored in recent years as they’ve stockpiled future draft assets, but there are some new factors they’ll have to consider if and when they go star-hunting this summer, writes Stefan Bondy of The New York Post.

For one, the emergence of Jalen Brunson as a legitimate All-Star and top-five MVP finisher significantly reduces the likelihood of the franchise pursuing another ball-dominant guard, Bondy observes.

The team will also have to weigh Julius Randle‘s fit going forward after getting to within one game of the Eastern Conference finals without him. As Bondy notes, Randle would be an obvious candidate to be included in certain trades for a star to complement Brunson, both for salary-matching purposes and because it probably wouldn’t make sense for New York to have three impact players who all need the ball in their hands.

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • Speaking at a charity event this week, Josh Hart said he’d happily play a recruiting role on behalf of the Knicks if the club is going after a specific free agent or trade target this offseason, according to Dan Martin of The New York Post. “If I have to be on the phone with someone, I’ll be there,” Hart said. The workhorse forward also reiterated that he’d like to see head coach Tom Thibodeau sign a contract extension: “He deserves it. He’s someone that works extremely hard and he prepares us. He makes sure we have the right mindset. But it’s not in my hands.”
  • With the help of cap expert Yossi Gozlan (YouTube link), Ian Begley of SNY.tv takes a closer look at the most important contract decisions facing the Knicks this offseason. Begley says he believes it’s reasonable for forward OG Anunoby to earn $35MM per year on his next contract, noting that the rival Sixers are believed to be eyeing Anunoby and could put pressure on New York by making a big offer.
  • Anunoby’s willingness to try to play through his hamstring injury in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Sunday left an impression on members of the Knicks’ organization, Begley writes for SNY.tv. “He wasn’t moving well. (Prior to Game 6), they didn’t think he was going to play (in Game 7),” a source told Begley. “But he was adamant about playing.”
  • Zach Braziller of The New York Post shares a player-by-player breakdown of the Knicks’ roster, examining how each player performed in 2023/24 and what their contract situations are for ’24/25 and beyond.

Eastern Notes: Magic, D-Lo, Tillman, Pistons, Knicks

The Magic are interested in Lakers point guard D’Angelo Russell, league sources tell Kelly Iko of The Athletic. Russell holds a player option for 2024/25 worth $18.7MM, but could become an unrestricted free agent if he decides to turn down that option.

Orlando has previously been cited as a potential suitor for Russell. Jovan Buha of The Athletic reported nearly two months ago that, based on conversations he’d had with people inside and outside of the Lakers organization, the Magic were viewed as the biggest threat to poach Russell from Los Angeles in free agency.

While the Magic made significant strides this season, earning a playoff spot and pushing Cleveland to seven games in the first round, they could still use more scoring punch and shooting in their backcourt. Out of 30 NBA teams, Orlando ranked 28th in assists (24.7) and dead-last in made three-pointers (11.0) per game during the 2023/24 season.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Already missing Kristaps Porzingis (calf strain), the Celtics will be without another frontcourt player when the Eastern Conference finals tip off on Tuesday. Xavier Tillman has been downgraded from questionable to out for personal reasons, the team announced today (via Twitter). With Porzingis and Tillman unavailable, Al Horford and Luke Kornet figure to handle center duties in Game 1.
  • With the help of cap expert John Hollinger, James L. Edwards III of The Athletic outlines three potential paths the Pistons could take this offseason. Edwards’ scenarios include a “swing for the fences” three-team trade for Brandon Ingram and Jerami Grant, an all-in approach to free agency focusing on Malik Monk and Tobias Harris, and a combination of signings and trades.
  • With the Knicks‘ offseason underway, Steve Popper of Newsday and Stefan Bondy of The New York Post each pose some pressing questions that the team will need to answer this summer. Exploring OG Anunoby‘s upcoming free agency, Bondy says that people around the league expect the three-and-D standout to receive between $30-40MM per year on his next contract.

Knicks Notes: Brunson, Thibodeau, Anunoby, Offseason

After fracturing his hand and watching his Knicks fall to Indiana in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Sunday, Jalen Brunson acknowledged that the team made “positive strides” in 2023/24, but responded “no” when asked if the season was a success, per Tim Bontemps of ESPN.

“Did we win the championship? Did we get close?” Brunson said. “So, no. That’s my mindset. That’s just how it is.”

It was a terrific individual season for Brunson, who set new career highs in points (28.7) and assists (6.7) per game during the regular season, finished fifth in MVP voting, and averaged 32.4 PPG in the postseason. But he continued to be his own harshest critic following the Game 7 loss, suggesting there’s still room for improvement.

“I would say there’s pros and cons to how I played,” Brunson said. “The pros, obviously, are I played well individually at some points in the playoffs. The cons are that I didn’t play well enough to help my team move forward. You can say I got hurt in Game 7, I wasn’t playing well in Game 7. We had a 2-0 and a 3-2 lead, it’s just hard to look at things individually when you don’t help your team.”

Brunson has one more guaranteed year remaining on his contract with the Knicks, with a player option for 2025/26. He’ll become eligible this offseason to sign a four-year, $156.5MM extension that would start in 2025 and replace that option. However, he cut off a question asking about that possibility during his postgame media session, replying, “I’ll talk about that another time.”

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • Head coach Tom Thibodeau briefly addressed his contract situation after Sunday’s loss, expressing a desire to remain in New York, according to Stefan Bondy of The New York Post. “That’s something that my agent will take care of,” said Thibodeau, who has one year left on his current deal. “The Knicks have been great to me. So this is where I want to be.” Bondy cites a source who is confident that the two sides will reach an agreement, while Ian Begley of SNY.tv also suggests an extension seems like a foregone conclusion, noting that Thibodeau has the strong support of his players.
  • OG Anunoby tried to play in Game 7 after missing the previous four contests with a hamstring injury, but he checked out after logging just five minutes and admitted after the loss that he “just couldn’t move” due to his hamstring, writes Peter Botte of The New York Post. “Was just trying, but couldn’t really sprint, couldn’t really jump, but just tried my best,” Anunoby said. “Just wanted to play. I wanted to at least try and help my teammates. We’ve been working really hard so I wanted to at least be out there.”
  • Thibodeau will face criticism from the “minutes police” for the way injuries decimated the Knicks’ roster down the stretch, but it’s not as simple as blaming all those injuries on overuse, according to Jared Schwartz of The New York Post (subscription required). While Thibodeau may deserve some blame, the team was also the victim of bad injury luck that forced the team to overuse players in the first place, Schwartz argues.
  • As dangerous as this year’s roster was when fully healthy, the Knicks haven’t ruled out the possibility of trying to trade for another star this offseason, writes Fred Katz of The Athletic. Still, the organization will be wary of how any major move would affect the culture and chemistry that made this year’s group special. “I think (the future) is very bright,” Knicks forward Josh Hart said. “I think there’s hope for what we’re building, and I think that’s the biggest thing. … I think we built a foundation of a franchise that’s gonna be fighting, a franchise that’s moving in the right direction. It’s tough to end it this way, but we’re going in the right direction. I think we’re giving this city and Knick fans something to hope for.”
  • Mark Deeks of HoopsHype and Bobby Marks of ESPN (Insider link) preview the offseason ahead for the Knicks, exploring the major decisions facing the team with its free agents (including Anunoby and Isaiah Hartenstein) and extension candidates (led by Brunson and Thibodeau).

Jalen Brunson Suffers Fractured Left Hand

Jalen Brunson fractured his left hand during Game 7 of the KnicksPacers series, New York PR department tweets.

It was a brutal end to a brilliant season for the Knicks guard. Brunson carried his club throughout the first two rounds of the Eastern Conference playoffs, averaging 33.7 points and 7.3 assists per contest. He had 17 points and nine assists in 29 minutes before retreating to the locker room during the second half.

New York also lost forward OG Anunoby early in the contest. Anunoby made an early departure after trying to come back from a hamstring strain. He only lasted five minutes.

The Knicks were ravaged by injuries late in the regular season and in the playoffs. Julius Randle, Mitchell Robinson and Bojan Bogdanovic were all ruled out for the season due to a variety of ailments. Anunoby had missed the last four games prior to his brief return on Sunday.

Knicks’ Anunoby, Hart To Start In Game 7

After being considered game-time decisions leading up to tip-off on Sunday, Knicks wings OG Anunoby and Josh Hart have officially been given the green light to play in today’s must-win Game 7 against the Pacers, sources inform Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

Steve Popper of Newsday tweets that both players will start. The matchup tips off in a half-hour.

Anunoby has been dealing with a strained hamstring since Game 2 of the club’s now-knotted series against Indiana. When healthy, however, the 6’7″ forward has proven himself to be an essential component to New York’s attack.

The team has gone 26-5 in the regular season and the playoffs this year when Anunoby – a midseason arrival from Toronto – has played. Across his eight available postseason contests, Anunoby has averaged 16.4 points (on .495/.395/.615 shooting), 6.8 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.1 blocks and 1.0 steal in 40.0 minutes per game.

Hart incurred an abdominal strain in Game 6, and though he valiantly attempted to play through it, he proved relatively ineffective offensively. Prior to his injury, the Villanova alum had been New York’s immovable object on the hardwood, averaging 42.6 MPG in the postseason. He has averaged 14.9 PPG on .447/.400/.705 shooting, plus 11.8 RPG, 4.5 APG, 0.9 SPG and 0.8 BPG.

Anunoby’s injury history has cost him major playoff moments before, as when an appendectomy sidelined him during the Raptors’ run to the title in 2019.

Woj: OG Anunoby, Josh Hart “On Course To Play” In Game 7

OG Anunoby and Josh Hart are both “on course to play” when the Knicks host the Pacers in Game 7 this afternoon, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Both players will participate in a walkthrough, and a final decision on their availability will be made close to game time.

Anunoby was upgraded to questionable Saturday evening after being sidelined since Game 2 with a strained hamstring. Wojnarowski previously reported that Anunoby was likely to miss Game 7, so his change in status came as a surprise.

Peter Botte of The New York Post notes that Anunoby has been considered day-to-day since suffering the injury 10 days ago. He hasn’t spoken to the media during that time, and coach Tom Thibodeau has been guarded in the information he has released, which includes telling reporters that Anunoby resumed “light workouts” prior to Game 5.

Botte points out that Anunoby, who is Leon Rose‘s most significant acquisition since taking over as team president, has been beset by injuries at inopportune times during his career. He averaged about 59 games per season during his last five years in Toronto and missed the team’s 2019 championship run after undergoing an appendectomy.

The Knicks have been a much better team with Anunoby in the lineup since he was acquired in a late-December trade. Including the playoffs, New York is 26-5 when Anunoby has played, which Botte notes would translate to 69 wins over a full season.

Hart, who has rarely left the court throughout the postseason, suffered an abdominal strain in Friday’s Game 6 while pursuing a rebound. He doubled over in pain after the play, and although he was able to return to the game, he was frequently clutching his stomach area.

The Knicks, who are hosting their first game 7 since 1995, are hoping to advance to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since 2000.