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Phoenix Suns Eyeing Raptors’ OG Anunoby as Damian Lillard Trade Speculation Grows

Mar 26, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) drives to the basket as Toronto Raptors forward OG Anunoby (3) defends during the first half at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

There have been connections between the Phoenix Suns and Toronto Raptors’ forward OG Anunoby back in the day, and a recent trade development involving Damian Lillard could make this connection a reality.

Just a week ago, several reports from sources like PHNX and Arizona Sports hinted at the possibility of the Phoenix Suns participating in a significant blockbuster trade featuring Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers.

However, Lillard won’t be heading to the Suns; instead, the Suns could play a role in bringing another talented player to Phoenix through their involvement in this trade.

Initially, reports suggested that Phoenix might target Jusuf Nurkić from Portland, potentially including Deandre Ayton in the deal. However, recent rumors now suggest that the Toronto Raptors are actively pursuing a trade for Lillard.

“I can confirm the Toronto Raptors, per sources, are very much in the mix. Certainly not all the way there and likely not even halfway to getting a deal done, but progress has been made,” said Michael Grange from Sportsnet Toronto

“As for the players the Raptors can or will put in a deal? By process of elimination, it probably would come down to a deal built around OG Anunoby…”

Whether Anunoby finds himself back in Portland or ends up with another team through a complex multi-team trade is still uncertain.

However, the Phoenix Suns have maintained a keen interest in the 26-year-old forward since the trade deadline. Prior to their significant trade for Kevin Durant, NBA insider Shams Charania identified Phoenix as a team that was showing increasing interest in Anunoby.

“So the Raptors are taking calls on OG Anunoby. You look at the Knicks – they’re willing to give up multiple first-round picks for Anunoby but another team that’s emerged in the last week or so is the Phoenix Suns,” said Charania. 

In the 2022-23 season, Anunoby participated in 67 games, where he maintained an average of 16.8 points (shooting at a 47.6% rate), along with 5.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and an impressive 1.9 steals per game, marking a career high.

While this potential trade might see Phoenix parting ways with their starting center, Deandre Ayton, Anunoby would step in seamlessly, filling the void of the currently uncertain “fifth starter” position, which has been a competition among players like Josh Okogie, Keita Bates-Diop, Yuta Watanabe, and others.

Anunoby is currently in the third year of a four-year contract worth $72 million that he signed with the Raptors. He is slated to earn $18.642 million in the upcoming year, and there’s a player option for the 2024-25 season valued at $19.928 million.

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