Knicks Make Final Call on RJ Barrett’s Trade Availability

RJ Barrett, New York Knicks

Getty RJ Barrett, New York Knicks

As the New York Knicks continue their pursuit of Donovan Mitchell, they will need to come to a final decision on which players they’re willing to part with, should a trade ever materialize.

According to an Eastern Conference executive, who spoke to under the condition of anonymity, one player who will likely be remaining in New York is RJ Barrett, as teams look to avoid the stress of having to negotiate his contract extension in the coming months.

“R.J. is extension-eligible. That is a tough position. He might want max money or something close to it. He is not going to get it. It’s a tough negotiation for the Knicks with that because you have to commit to $30 million per year for a guy who is very good as a scorer and has potential but has not shown he is an elite player, really. There is interest in R.J. but no one wants to trade for him, then take on the job of negotiating with him. Let the Knicks do that,” The executive told’s, Sean Deveney.

Barrett has continued his steady improvement since entering the NBA, and last season put together some impressive averages of 20 points, 5.8 rebounds, and three assists per game while shooting 40.8% from the field, 34.2% from deep, and 71.4% from the free-throw line.

Knicks Have Begun Negotiations for Mitchell

The Knicks have been pining for a new star talent since Carmelo Anthony departed the franchise, and Donovan Mitchell looks like he could finally fill that void. Of course, Mitchell being a New York native is just a sweetener, but it will go a long way towards convincing the fan base that his signature is worth the front office changing course in the team’s rebuild.

And according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Leon Rose and William Wesley have already entered into the early stages of negotiations with the Utah Jazz front office, as they bid to steal a charge on other interested parties.

“The Jazz are having conversations with multiple teams on a Mitchell deal, but the Knicks have emerged as the focused destination over the past several days, sources said. Both sides have discussed a deal framework in the past 24 hours, those sources said,” Charania wrote in July 14 column.

However, it’s worth noting that following their addition of Jalen Brunson, the Knicks wouldn’t project to be a good defensive team on the perimeter, should they choose to pair their latest point guard addition with Mitchell in the backcourt.

Utah Knows What They Want in Mitchell Discussions

It’s fair to assume that the Rudy Gobert trade between the Jazz and the Minnesota Timberwolves has set the tone for what they expect to get in return for Mitchell. Of course, players have to be involved in these types of deals to make the money work, but in reality, Utah wants to stockpile draft picks, and any potential trade will be centered around improving the team’s future.

The Jazz have been clear about this all summer. It would take a Godfather type of return for them to part ways with Donovan Mitchell. They said the same thing about Rudy Gobert, and most didn’t believe them. They went on to effectively break the trade market with that deal. It’s difficult to imagine them accepting something less for Mitchell than what they got for Gobert. So, a team is going to have to meet that bar, or Mitchell is most likely going to remain with the Jazz,” Tony Jones wrote in a July 13 article for The Athletic.

Of course, if the Knicks were to add young pieces such as Summer League standout Quentin Grimes, and potentially Obi Toppin, they could limit the amount of draft stock they have to send out in a deal, but even then, the price will be astronomical.

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