The Toronto Raptors were able to get a deal done with OG Anunoby on Monday to keep the promising young two-way player on a four-year, $72-million contract extension, Anunoby’s agent and head of basketball at Klutch Sports, Omar Wilkes, told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Toronto was able to lock up Anunoby just hours before the Monday night deadline on deals with the 2017 NBA Draft class. If he hadn’t been extended, Anunoby was expected to be one of the most sought-after options on the open market in free agency next offseason in 2021. The 23-year-old’s deal also includes a player option for 2024-2025, according to Wilkes.
Team president Masai Ujiri and general manager Bobby Webster are clearly pleased that they were able to avoid a possible bidding war next summer by getting the extension done now. And who knows, if Anunoby takes another big step, this deal could end up being a bargain.
“OG is the epitome of the skilled, powerful, determined player we want in our organization long-term. Remember, he doesn’t shoot to miss,” Webster said. “We’re really pleased that OG will be with us for seasons to come.”
The Raptors have now essentially locked themselves into their current core, having already signed point guard Fred VanVleet and All-Star forward Pascal Siakam to lucrative, long-term contract extensions.
Those three players have a few things in common. One, is that they’re all hard-working, selfless, two-way players that give it their all every night on both ends of the floor, and that’s exactly the type of player that Ujiri and head coach Nick Nurse have been shown to prefer. Another is that these guys all came to the Raptors with a lot to prove after being written off by many.
Siakam didn’t play basketball until his mid-teens, was lightly recruited out of high school, and was the 27th pick of the draft in 2016 before becoming an All-Star last season. VanVleet was called undersized his whole life and after a standout four-year career at Wichita State he went undrafted, catching on with the Raptors D-league team and eventually turning himself into a bonafide NBA starter.
OG, for his part, barely made the nation’s top 300 prospect list coming out of high school, then an ACL tear his senior year at Indiana caused him to drop to the 23rd pick of the 2017 draft. These guys all have big chips on their shoulders, and as the only franchise in Canada, so do the Raptors. The fit has been seamless.
After starting just six games and missing most of the Raptors’ championship run in 2019 due to an emergency appendectomy during the campaign, Anunoby took a huge leap last year with the departure of Kawhi Leonard, starting 68 of 69 games and averaging career highs across the board: 10.6 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.4 steals, and 0.7 blocks on a 51/39/71 slash line in 29.9 minutes per game.
Anunoby also put an exclamation point on his breakout year with his performance in his first significant playoff minutes in the NBA’s Orlando bubble. The former Hoosier put up 10.5 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.2 blocks, and 1.0 steals per game on a 46/42/64 slash line in 35.7 minutes per game, regularly drawing the other team’s best offensive player on defense and limiting them significantly.
And that’s all before mentioning his cold-blooded buzzer-beating triple to stave off elimination for the Raptors in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Celtics.
If Siakam, VanVleet, and especially Anunoby can all take yet another big step this season, the Raptors may well challenge the Nets much more seriously for that Atlantic Division crown than their +320 odds on 888sport might suggest.