RJ Barrett Sounds Off on New Extension With Knicks

Chicago Bulls

Getty RJ Barrett #9 of the New York Knicks looks on during pregame warm-ups

After the dust settled on the New York Knicks missing out on Donovan Mitchell, the team got to work congratulating its newly extended forward RJ Barrett.

Mitchell ultimately went to the Cleveland Cavaliers in a deal that shocked pretty much everybody as it was expected that the guard would somehow find a way to join the Knicks.

The trade sent Lauri Markkanen, Ochai Agbaji, guard Collin Sexton, three unprotected first-round picks and two pick swaps to the Jazz. It’s a big haul no doubt, but it’s also something the Knicks could’ve matched if they wanted to get there.

Nevertheless, the Knicks now have to turn the page on focus on the future without Mitchell, and they did that just minutes after the trade was announced by tweeting out a video of Barrett responding to his extension.

Barrett is Ready

Barrett becomes the first Knicks player selected in the first round to sign an extension with the team since Charlie Ward in 1999, so this is a big deal for both him and the franchise.

It’s been a long time since the home grown talent has stuck around instead of being traded away or leaving in free agency. Barrett recognizes what the extension means and he’s excited to get to work.

“What’s up Knicks fans, RJ Barrett here,” he started. “Really excited to be back, really fired up about this extension and I’ll see you guys at the Garden.”

After being dangled in a deal for Mitchell, one that even included starting center Mitchell Robinson, Barrett can now get to work as the face of the franchise. Fans might’ve been hyped up to see him alongside a star backcourt with Jalen Brunson and Mitchell, but this seems to be the next best scenario for them.

There are still plenty of avenues that can be explored for the remainder of this offseason, including exploring a trade of Julius Randle.

Other Moves Coming?

Randle could very well find himself moved, but it could also be difficult for the Knicks to pull it off. According to The Athletic’s Fred Katz, Randle’s value is low around the league, and while nobody is hanging up the phone when being asked about him, it seems increasingly unlikely he’ll be moved on from unless there’s a move that blows them away.

“I can’t speak for all 30 teams,” he said. “Maybe there is a front office I haven’t heard about that is seeking out Randle. But if there were, I would be surprised. It’s not like the Knicks are clinging onto him. If you call them about Randle, they’re listening to your offer.”

Trading away Randle for the sake of trading him away won’t do much to improve the team going forward, but it could be in the team’s best interest. Obi Toppin currently finds himself blocked behind Randle in the depth chart, and since Tom Thibodeau doesn’t like to play the two of them together in the lineup, there’s not a clear path forward for Toppin to find consistent minutes.

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