The Toronto Raptors have secured forward OG Anunoby as a core piece of the foreseeable future.
Terms of the deal were not officially disclosed by the Raptors, but Anunoby agreed to a four-year, $72 millon extension, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. The deal includes a player option for the 2024-25 season. He will make $3.8 million this season in the fourth and final year of his rookie deal.
Anunoby joined the Raptors in 2017 as the 23rd overall selection from Indiana. He overcame an ACL injury and quickly cracked the starting five for a Raptors team that finished with the No. 1 seed in the East. The 6-foot-8 forward entered the league as an excellent defensive prospect, has slowly come to fulfill his potential and now ranks as one of the best wing stoppers in the league.
The 23-year-old will be counted on as a starter once again this season, with Raptors head coach Nick Nurse also teasing the possibility of shifting Anunoby around to also play power forward and smallball center. His size and defensive habits allow for Anunoby to reliably cover all five positions, and coupled with an ever-improving jumper, Anunoby fits the prototypical 3-and-D mold. Even if he just serves that role, Anunoby’s contract will be fair bargain.
However, the Raptors have always believed in Anunoby’s growth as an offensive player and that’s where this deal could become a bargain. Anunoby averaged 10.6 points on 50.5 percent shooting from the field, 39 percent from deep last season, and showed flashes of brilliance in Toronto’s bitter seven-game series against the Boston Celtics, one in which Anunoby nailed a game-winning three with only 0.5 seconds left on the clock to rescue the Raptors from an 0-3 deficit. Anunoby showed the occasional spin move and hints of a pull-up jumper, but will need more refinement to reach his ceiling.
By signing Anunoby to the extension, the Raptors will sacrifice a portion of their precious cap room for the summer of 2021. However, with Giannis Antetokounmpo signing long-term in Milwaukee, while a handful of other stars also signed extensions, the market for star players quickly dried up. Anunoby’s deal only takes up an additional $4 million in cap flexibility, and the Raptors can still be major players depending on what they do with the future of Kyle Lowry, who will be a 35-year-old free agent next summer.
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