The New York Knicks are in the midst of freeing up cap space to land a free agent like Jalen Brunson.
With the trades of Kemba Walker, Nerlens Noel, and Alec Burks, the door is wide open for the Knicks to land their guy, and the expectation around the league is that they’ll indeed be able to steal Brunson away from the Dallas Mavericks.
Once that is out the way, New York will be able to focus on who’s left on their roster. This includes looking at an extension for RJ Barrett. He’s eligible for a five-year, $180 million deal, but it’s not looking too good for him if he’s deadset on getting that.
Speaking to Heavy.com’s Sean Deveney, an anonymous Eastern Conference executive offers a blunt assessment of Barrett’s future.
Barrett Not Getting the Max?
Barrett set a career-high in points per game the past season at 20, but his efficiency leaves a lot to be desired.
The exec said that if he’s in search of max extension, he’s not going to get it partly because of that issue.
“He is overvaluing himself if he is set on the max,” the exec told Deveney. “He is not going to get the max, and the question is, will he fight for it? It’s $180 million over five years. Probably not going to get that. But that will be a starting point for his side and it is a matter of how low the Knicks can get them to go. $150 million is probably too much. DeMar DeRozan got $26 million per year and that is probably the ballpark, five years and $120-130 million. He has shown great flashes and great stretches but he has to be more consistent, he needs to be a better shooter to be a No. 1 option.”
Barrett would be the first Knicks first-round draft pick to sign an extension with the team since 1999 if he does get one, so he has that going for him in the event he isn’t able to get the max.
Is Barrett a Priority?
With Barrett emerging as the fan favorite in New York ahead of Julius Randle, it does seem like the team will like having him back. However, they’ll need him to be open to taking something less than a max contract.
There’s no question he’s a good player, but he might find himself in a similar situation as Deandre Ayton and the Phoenix Suns where they don’t want to hand out a max deal to him. It’s a dangerous game to play with a player as valuable as Barrett is, but it might happen if he’s deadset on the max.
The exec makes a comparison to DeMar DeRozan’s contract at $26 million per year, so that might be more in the ballpark about what the two sides will discuss.
This extension would add another $100 million player to the roster along with Randle and whatever contract Brunson eventually signs with. Despite that, this would be one of the most promising cores the Knicks have had in quite a while.