The New York Knicks have been the talk of the NBA as of late. From the loss of starting center Mitchell Robinson due to injury, to the stellar play of Jalen Brunson, the Knicks seem to keep making headlines. In the latest news, the Knicks have made the biggest trade of the season.

            The full details included former number 3 pick, RJ Barrett, heading to Toronto along with a rising star in Immanuel Quickley and a second round draft pick. In return, the Knicks received an underrated stud in OG Anunoby and two additional role players in Precious Achiuwa and Malachi Flynn.

Anunoby is the center of the trade, of course, as he fits New York’s scheme well alongside stars Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle as the likely third option. This season he has averaged 15.1 points on 37.4% three-point shooting along with 1.0 steals and 0.5 blocks per game making him the perfect “3 & D” player that the Knicks were looking for.

            On the other hand, it is hard to see Barrett and Quickley go as they have been fan favorites for the past 3-4 season with New York. They were home-grown talent, being drafted by the Knicks and spending their whole career in New York up to this point.

            Throughout his NBA career, Barrett has shown flashes of the greatness he displayed in highschool and college with Duke University. In his 4-year tenure with the Knicks, along with the start of this season, he has averaged 18.1 points per game despite being the third option for most of his career. He can provide elite scoring for the Raptors if given the opportunity to take over this offense.

            With Quickley being the other key piece that the Knicks gave up, this trade is tough to swallow for Knicks fans. Since being drafted in 2020, he has been the spark plug that New York needed. He spends most of his time off the bench, but has proven to be one of the best players on this roster.

            In his three seasons in New York and his thirty games this season, he has tallied averages of 12.9 points and 3.0 assists per game in just 24.1 minutes per game. He is also an efficient 3-point shooter, hitting 37.0% in his career. He is a top “Sixth Man” in the league and can make a case to be a starter in Toronto, especially averaging a career high 15.0 points per game to start this season.

            What’s more enticing is how Quickley has performed in the games that he started. Last season he averaged 22.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 5.1 assists per game in the starting role. These elevated stats instill hope for Quickley in a Raptors team that is searching for a leader. He will now be handed a golden opportunity to reach his full potential.

            With a deal as major as this, there is bound to be controversy. Knicks fans aren’t sure how to feel and are in constant debate. Fans are happy to welcome a player of Anunoby’s caliber, but they have expressed frustration for not acquiring another star player to truly establish themselves as a top team.

            “While this is a fair trade as both teams get players that better suit their needs, this will ultimately not move the needle much for the Knicks,” says Jacob Infald, a Knicks fan from Commack. “Anunoby is an efficient shooter with a high motor on defense who will be perfect in Coach Thibodeau’s system, but ultimately the Knicks will need another star to be able to compete.”

            Regardless, this trade is beneficial in every aspect. The Knicks can now make an NBA title run with their much improved defense and make room for more players to contribute in what was a deep roster. Look for guys like Donte Divincenzo to step up in a new role as well. He just dropped a career high 38 points on the same day Quickley and Barrett were traded.

            The deal also answers any questions regarding whether or not Quickley was getting paid this summer in free agency. It’s hard to hand out a large contract to a player who has to sit in favor of the best player on the team as Brunson will be the starting point guard of the future.

            Despite being forced to leave the teams that drafted them, this deal allows Barrett, Quickley, and Anunoby to all get paid large contracts and extensions this offseason and gain more opportunities to succeed in their new homes.

            It’s a bitter-sweet situation for all those involved, but it looks like this was the best deal for all parties. Knicks fans wish Barrett and Quickley luck in Toronto and welcome Anunoby to New York as they compete for a ring.

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James Haupt is The Messenger Papers' weekly Sports Reporter and Staff Writer, covering everything from local little leagues to professional sports teams. James is also a full-time college student at Villanova University majoring in Journalism.