Knicks Willing to Include RJ Barrett in Trade for Star Guard: Report

RJ Barrett

Getty RJ Barrett during a March 29 game against the Miami Heat.

After being embarrassed by the Atlanta Hawks in their first playoff series since 2013, the New York Knicks are actively shopping for a star-level talent upgrade this offseason.

Two names that continue to be linked via rumors are Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard and Washington Wizards shooting guard, both members of the 2020-2021 All-NBA Team.

The Knicks will be among the league leaders in cap space this summer, which combined with their young core and draft capital makes them a top player for whichever star next requests a trade.

It should be noted that neither Beal nor Lillard have requested trades, although there’s plenty of speculation as to whether or not they’ll return to their respective teams for the 2021-2022 campaign.

Either one of the aforementioned All-Star guards would require a blockbuster-caliber trade package, similar to that of Anthony Davis, James Harden, or Jrue Holiday.

What Knicks fans can’t agree on is whether a trade for Beal or Lillard would require including second-year guard RJ Barrett, and more importantly, whether New York would be willing to trade the former third overall pick.

Recent reporting from the New York Daily News should help to steer the discourse.

Winfield: Knicks Preparing for ‘Splashy Offseason’

In his latest piece for the New York Daily News, Kristian Winfield touched on a number of offseason targets for the New York Knicks, including Bradley Beal and Damian Lillard.

According to his sources, the team is indeed willing to part with 21-year old RJ Barrett in a blockbuster trade:

The source told the Daily News that the Knicks are interested in packaging rising star RJ Barrett in a deal for a star guard, like Portland’s Damian Lillard or Washington’s Bradley Beal.

It’s the first time it’s been reported, and it’s making waves across Knicks Twitter.

Whether you believe Winfield’s source or not, the fact is this: any deal for a player of Beal or Lillard’s caliber would certainly require RJ Barrett’s involvement.

Even with five first-round picks across the next three years, and all of Immanuel Quickley, Mitchell Robinson, and Obi Toppin, New York’s package simply doesn’t stack up to other potential offers.

In other words: you’re either all in, or you’re all out.

Magic Johnson, Reggie Miller Endorse Knicks Trade for Dame

On a recent episode of Keyshawn, JWill, and Zubin, Hall of Fame point guard and former NBA executive Magic Johnson was asked who he thought was “the right star” for the New York Knicks.

He responded with one name, and one name only — that of Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard:

If Dame was available, to me that’s the right dude. That’s the right guy. He’s got to make a decision here. Does he say, ‘Do I stay for one more, and try to give it one more try? or, ‘Do I say this summer I want to go?’

Fellow Hall of Famer guard Reggie Miller echoed the sentiments (via the New York Post) on a June 24, 2021, conference call:

To me, I think they need a superstar. For instance, I’m just saying, if they would’ve had a Damian Lillard along with a Julius Randle, that’s something where you can really say, OK, the Knicks are loaded and ready. They are a superstar away from really taking it to the next level.

But the question remains as to whether or not the Portland Trail Blazers will entertain trade offers.

For now it appears that if a sweepstakes for Damian Lillard does occur, the New York Knicks will aim to be competitive, even if it means trading RJ Barrett.

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