The NBA's first major 2023-24 Trade Season deal occurred just before the New Year when the Toronto Raptors sent long-coveted wing OG Anunoby to the New York Knicks in a move that included RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley heading North.
Precious Achiuwa and Malachi Flynn head to New York with Anunoby, and a Detroit Pistons second-round pick goes with Barrett and Quickley.
Anunoby has been trapped in the rumor mill for quite a while; the Blazers showed interest in the All-Defensive Second-Teamer as long ago as the 2022 draft. The Knicks finally talking Raptors President Masai Ujiri into parting with his 26-year-old wing, though - and the players they sent to Toronto to get the deal done - opens up a new window of opportunity for Portland should it wish to move on from Malcolm Brogdon.
New York Knicks now a potential trade destination for Trail Blazers Malcolm Brogdon
While Barrett may be the biggest name going back to Toronto in the deal, Quickley could end up being the most valuable player the Raptors landed. If Jalen Brunson wasn't in New York, Quickley very well could have been the Knicks' starting point guard the last two seasons. Now he'll get that opportunity in Toronto.
Scottie Barnes runs that offense as a point forward, but now Quickley can take over when Barnes sits or act as a secondary playmaker if Barnes gets bottled up. The 24-year-old has already proven he can score at multiple levels - he's averaging a career-high 15 points this year on a career-high 59.8 percent true-shooting percentage and is hitting a career-high 39.5 percent from three.
He'll immediately slot in as a starter in the Raptors' backcourt and get the opportunity to show what he can do with starter-level minutes.
On the flip side, the Knicks now have to find a replacement sixth man and combo guard who's able to manage minutes alongside a small scoring guard in Brunson.
Enter Brogdon, who's not as talented as Quickley but would be a better fit with the Knicks as a bigger backcourt player who can defend the guards Brunson can't. He can score when needed but is a better facilitator than Quickley has proven to be. He still gives coach Tom Thibodeau a 3-point shooting threat and is comfortable playing in the starting lineup or coming off the bench.
Brogdon wouldn't cost the Knicks a ton, either. Reports say the 31-year-old Blazers guard is worth a protected first-round pick; if New York strikes out on the superstar they're hoping to add, Evan Fournier's expiring contract and a protected 2025 first-rounder should get a deal done.
The Knicks are aiming much higher. Like Donovan Mitchell, Karl-Anthony Towns higher. Brogdon wouldn't be their first choice. But if they can't land a star, adding a veteran with playoff experience who could fill a useful role wouldn't be a bad plan B for New York.