Shocking Anunoby deal opens floodgates for Bulls trade season

Phoenix Suns v Toronto Raptors
Phoenix Suns v Toronto Raptors / Andrew Lahodynskyj/GettyImages

While the rest of the country tucks in for the holidays to join a time of family and feasting, the work of an NBA general manager is never done. Although the Chicago Bulls have remained relatively quiet over the past few years, other managers have aggressively pursued ways to continue improving their rosters. Not even Christmas could bring a halt to these endeavors, as the Toronto Raptors have officially decided to move on from OG Anunoby just one day before 202

The Raptors have decided to pawn off their highly sought-after 3-and-D talent to the Knicks, in return for a package centered around players currently in the league, rather than future draft capital. New York has agreed to send R.J. Barrett, Immanuel Quickley, and a second-round pick to Toronto in exchange for Anunoby, Precious Achiuwa, and Malachi Flynn.

Considering Anunoby and Quickley are both set to hit free agency this summer, this move makes sense for both parties if neither intended to pay the heavy price it would take to retain these players.

Scottie Barnes has asserted himself as the Raptors' premiere forward, so it makes sense to swap OG out for a player who suits their system better. At the same time, the Knicks have found great success under the leadership of Jalen Brunson, so they have little need for another ball-dominant undersized scoring guard.

Adrian Wojnawroski of ESPN broke news of this surprising trade earlier today.

Following news of the OG Anunoby deal, it's time for the Bulls to retool this flawed roster via trades.

As the first significant deal of the regular season, you have to assume this will be the domino that sparks other teams getting involved in the trade market. With Zach LaVine trade rumors running rampant, this is a crucial time for the Bulls to test the waters and see if anyone is willing to bite. If Chicago was able to add a few additional pieces rather than having essentially $40 million in dead cap space sitting on the bench, they'd immediately become a far more formidable team.

Now that the December 15 deadline has passed, players who signed as free agents with new teams are all now available to be traded. Once we get to January 15, even more players can hit the trade market, as that is the date players who signed long-term extensions with their own teams can be dealt away. This is when we can expect trade negotiations and rumors to really pick up steam, as this year's NBA trade deadline comes just three weeks later on February 8.

What I find most interesting is how this trade came seemingly out of the blue, with very little in the rumor mill to suggest a trade like this would happen so quickly. We have seen a lot of smoke and mirrors in the reporting surrounding the alleged interested parties in acquiring LaVine's services, but I wouldn't be surprised to see news of a LaVine trade drop spontaneously.

Rising teams like the Pacers, Thunder, and Magic could potentially surprise everyone by dealing for LaVine to support their developing rosters. Of course, there's also the possibility that Chicago sticks to their guns and tries keeping Zach around for the remainder of the season. It's impossible to know just where the front office's head is at, but if this Anunoby trade tells us anything, it's that they'll need to make their minds up soon.

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