The Raptors' O.G. Anunoby dunks as the Nuggets' Kentavious Caldwell-Pope,...

The Raptors' O.G. Anunoby dunks as the Nuggets' Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic look on during the first half of an NBA game in Toronto on Dec. 20. Credit: AP/Frank Gunn

INDIANAPOLIS — When the news of the Knicks’ trade of RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley began to spread Saturday morning, Evan Fournier checked his phone.

“Well, the thing is the way I learned it, I think it said it was a trade package surrounding RJ,” Fournier said. “So of course you see that, you’re like, ‘Oh.’ You check your phone and stuff.

“I sleep well at night. I don’t check my phone to see if there’s a trade or anything. I just focus in on the moment because that’s the business.”

Fournier knows the business better than most in the Knicks’ locker room, having played for three teams. He has spent the last year in a sort of limbo. He rarely plays, but his contract is a trade chip the Knicks have been unwilling to let go.

For everyone on the team, the news that the longtime teammates were gone and OG Anunoby, Precious Achiuwa and Malachi Flynn would be joining them Monday at Madison Square Garden was a wake-up call, a signal that anything can happen now.

What’s next for the Knicks is unknown, maybe even to the point of the front office orchestrating more moves.

The deal, which likely will include a contract extension for Anunoby in the summer, gives the Knicks a new big three, pairing him with Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle.

But reeling from a three-game road trip that ended without a win, the Knicks have to regroup quickly. They will face the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday afternoon and are uncertain whether they will be close to full strength without time for even one practice for the new players.

“I don’t know what the logistics of everything are yet,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. “But whatever it is, we just gotta find a way.”

Asked if he’d play the new additions without a practice, he said, “Yeah, if we have to, that’s what we’ll do.”

“We’ll see,” Brunson added after the loss in Indiana. “Just honestly for [Saturday], I’ll focus on the departure of those guys and our loss tonight and then going forward, we’ll talk about that later on.”

The Knicks did some in-house paperwork late Saturday, signing Deuce McBride to a three-year, $13 million extension. The defense-first point guard is far different from Quickley as a player but figures to get the first shot at joining the rotation.

Fournier remains a Knick for now and was pressed into service for only the second time this season Saturday night. The Knicks would like to use his $18 million expiring contract to package in a deal.

They also still have all of their own first-round picks along with a Dallas first-rounder that is likely to convey in the summer (protected 1-10), a 2025 lightly protected Milwaukee first-rounder and 2024 first-rounders from Detroit and Washington that they likely won’t get this summer with protections.

Anunoby is a step up defensively and perhaps a better fit offensively than Barrett, who mimicked the strengths of Brunson and Randle. But with the Knicks 17-15 and sitting in eighth place in the Eastern Conference, this deal is not likely to make them a serious contender that can get past Boston, Milwaukee or Philadelphia.

So, like Fournier, the players will be left to check their phones and wait for the next shoe to drop.

“That’s what the league is about,” Randle said. “You have your high moments. You have your low moments. It’s about how fast you can regroup and adjust and get this thing on the right track.”


Unlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months