FORGET PAUL GEORGE, SIXERS SHOULD BE ALL IN ON OG ANUNOBY!

By Tommy Matthews

OG Anunoby is declining his $19.9MM player option and will become an unrestricted free agent, Fred Katz of The Athletic tweets.

He’ll be one of the most coveted players on the market.

However, it’s unlikely any team would be willing to max him out due to his lack of durability. Injuries have cost him 29, 34, 15, and 32 games in the past four seasons.

When Anunoby suits up though, he’s a difference-maker. After the Knicks acquired him from the Raptors in December, New York’s net rating in his 802 regular season minutes was an eye-popping +21.7. Both the Knicks’ offensive rating (122.6) and defensive rating (100.9) during those minutes would’ve ranked first in the NBA.

Anunoby, 26, is in the prime of his career that began during the 2017/18 season. In 50 regular-season games in ’23/24, he averaged 14.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.4 steals. He earned All-Defensive honors in 2022/23 but didn’t qualify this past season due to the 65-game minimum rule in the new CBA.

A recent report suggested that the floor for Anunoby’s next contract is $35MM per year, meaning the non-Knicks suitors will be limited to teams who can create significant cap room or are in position to pull off a sign-and-trade. That list isn’t extensive, but the Sixers are among the cap-room clubs that could have interest. He’d be a fallback option for them if they couldn’t land Paul George in free agency.

Still, the Knicks, who possess Anunoby’s full Bird rights, have the inside track on re-signing him. Discussing the forward’s impending free agency earlier today, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype confirmed a recent report from Brian Windhorst of ESPN, who hinted that New York’s initial offer wasn’t up to par, but added that New York “remains committed” to re-signing Anunoby and is viewed as the favorite by rival executives.

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