There could potentially be more trouble on the good ship Raptors.
Speaking about his May 31 report where he outlined the possibility that Toronto Raptors forward OG Anunoby might be unhappy with his role, Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report appeared on Nate Duncan’s Dunc’d On podcast, where he expanded on the situation.
“I've been hearing since March that OG Anunoby has been dissatisfied with his role in Toronto — I mean, there's a lot of guys who are dissatisfied with their roles in Toronto," Fischer said on the podcast published Wednesday. "I can understand why people could be seeing this as blowing this up, (but) he hasn't had a trade request yet and I know that the title is a bit on the sensational side.
“But, look, it was asking a question. Does he want out of Toronto is a question that many people around the NBA are asking right now. So, all of that being said, I do definitely think there's definitive truth that he wants more opportunity.”
Fischer’s May 31 report was headlined “Latest NBA Offseason Intel: Does OG Anunoby Want out of Toronto?” The story made mention that since the trade deadline the Raptors have reportedly declared that their top six players of Anunoby, Scottie Barnes, Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, Gary Trent Jr. and Precious Achiuwa are untouchable. But at the same time, the Raptors covet a starting quality centre.
Names like Jarrett Allen, Myles Turner, Domantas Sabonis and former Raptors first-round pick Jakob Poeltl were mentioned in the piece, as well as three-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert, who Fischer reported that the Jazz are potentially shopping to the Raptors in a trade.
To make a move like that, however, the Raptors would have to trade Anunoby and another moderately large contract such as the one Trent is on, meaning two of Toronto’s supposed top six players would be given up.
According to Fischer, though, that may not be a problem because of Anunoby’s reportedly displeased disposition.
“To be clear, there hasn't been a trade request, as I said, and also, the Raptors are not shopping him,” Fischer said. “I never said either of those things. But, I mean, the Raptors are definitely engaging with teams and back at the deadline I said these six guys are untouchable. … But, from that point, the change is he seems to be very available, seems to have an interest in having more opportunity, which, if that's the case and another team is offering it and he sees more than what's available in Toronto then things are gonna open up.”
Anunoby averaged a career-high 17.1 points per game last season and shot 36.3 percent from three-point range on a career-best 6.6 attempts from distance per contest. However, as has been the case for much of his career, the injury bug got the better of him as he only played 48 regular-season games.
That combination of him missing significant time and the emergence of Barnes as the league’s Rookie of the Year likely moved Anunoby back to being a fourth option behind Barnes, All-NBA performer Siakam and all-star guard VanVleet.
“The Raptors are looking to take a step forward here,” said Fischer. “So, if there is a deal like the Rudy Gobert framework that comes on the table or a centre that they've been looking at — they looked at Jarrett Allen like I wrote and the pace was big — and they were talking to the Mavericks about (Kristaps) Porzingis before that deal fell apart and they went to go get Thad Young.
“If there's something that they think makes them better and OG is their path to get there, I think that's probably the more likely scenario rather than them selling him off. I don't think they're going to sell him off at all. I don't think that's what we're dealing with here.”
In other words, Anunoby is an asset like any other quality player in the NBA and, as a result, could be traded. Or not. No one really has any clue.
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