Canadian guard RJ Barrett is set to play for the country’s lone NBA team after a major trade between the Toronto Raptors and New York Knicks on Saturday, according to multiple media reports.
Toronto dealt forwards OG Anunoby and Precious Achiuwa and guard Malachi Flynn to the Knicks in exchange for Barrett, from Mississauga, Ont., guard Immanuel Quickley and a second-round draft pick, sources told ESPN and The Athletic.
Anunoby, Achiuwa and Flynn were held out of the Raptors’ road game against the Detroit Pistons on Saturday for undisclosed reasons.
A Raptors spokesperson declined to comment on the reported trade. A text-message left with Barrett was not immediately returned.
Toronto (12-19) entered play Saturday tied for 11th place in the NBA’s Eastern Conference standings. The Knicks, who were scheduled to play in the evening at Indiana, were in seventh place at 17-14.
Anunoby is considered one of the best one-on-one defenders in the NBA. He has averaged 15.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and one steal per game this season.
Achiuwa and Flynn have come off the bench for Toronto this season. Achiuwa has averaged 7.7 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game while Flynn has averaged 5.1 points, 2.1 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game.
Barrett has averaged 18.2 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 2.4 assists this season. The member of the Canadian men’s national team has been shooting 33.1 per cent from beyond the arc.
Quickley should also provide a boost to the Raptors’ three-point shooting. He’s averaging 39.5 per cent on three-pointers and has season averages of 15 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game.
The Knicks are giving up two of their top offensive players in Barrett, a starting forward, and Quickley, one of the NBA’s top reserves. But the deal should provide a needed boost to their defence since Anunoby led the NBA in steals last season.
The deal comes four months after the Knicks filed a lawsuit against the Raptors, alleging they had conspired to steal thousands of videos and other scouting secrets after hiring a former Knicks scouting employee.
In October, the Raptors’ owners, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, filed a motion in New York’s Southern District for the lawsuit to be dismissed. MLSE filed the legal documents on behalf of the NBA club, head coach Darko Rajakovic and 12 other individual defendants.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 30, 2023. With files from The Associated Press
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