Knicks’ Blockbuster Trade Proposal Swaps RJ Barrett for Recent No. 2 Pick

RJ Barrett, New York Knicks

Getty RJ Barrett of the New York Knicks reacts during a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Coming off a solid playoff run, New York Knicks‘ swingman RJ Barrett is the centerpiece of a blockbuster trade proposal from The Athletic for the Detroit Pistons’ fifth overall pick on June 22’s NBA Draft and former No. 2 pick James Wiseman.

The full details of the trade proposal suggested by James Edwards III, the Pistons’ beat reporter for The Athletic, are as follows:

Pistons receive: RJ Barrett, Evan Fournier and a 2024 first-round pick

Knicks receive: Bojan Bogdanović, James Wiseman and No. 5 pick in 2023

According to Edwards, Pistons’ general manager Troy Weaver will entertain trading the No. 5 pick if it’s going to help them move forward. Detroit has just landed Monty Williams, who steered the Phoenix Suns to the NBA Finals in 2021, and their goal is to get out of the lottery next year.

“The prize here is Barrett, who just had a really good postseason for the Knicks. Defensively, he fits everything the Pistons are about and missing. Offensively, the shooting is up and down, but he impacts the game in other ways. I really like the idea of Barrett as a secondary or tertiary ballhandler next to [Cade] Cunningham and [Jaden] Ivey. I like it even more if the shooting stays up. I’d take on Fournier’s deal in order to get Barrett, but I’d need future draft compensation as well,” Edwards wrote.

Barrett averaged 19.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists in the Knicks’ recent playoff with a 49.5% effective field goal percentage. His four-year, $107 million extension that could go up to $120 million kicks in starting next season. Fournier, who can be a trade chip for the Pistons at the deadline, essentially replaces Bogdanovic’s shooting and veteran leadership.

Fred Katz, the Knicks beat reporter for The Athletic, likes the idea of Bogdanovic, who could address the team’s lack of shooting.

Bogdanovic shot 41.1% from deep last season and led the Pistons in scoring with 21.6 points per game. His playoff experience with the Utah Jazz will be valuable for the Knicks, who aim to build on their second-round exit.

“It would depend on the protections for the 2024 pick, but I think the Knicks would have to consider jumping on this. Bogdanović gives them more shooting, something they desperately need in the short term and is an intuitive fit next to Jalen Brunson as well as Julius Randle. And, most importantly, the fifth pick in a stacked draft would allow them to string along their young talent for even longer. I’m sure the Knicks would not feel great about parting with RJ Barrett after a strong postseason for the 22-year-old, but this is a big haul in return. They’re definitely listening to this,” Katz told Edwards.

The Knicks have four first-round picks in next year’s draft — their own, Dallas’ top-10 protected, Washington’s top-12 protected and Detroit’s top-18 protected.

As for Wiseman, the 2020 second-overall pick did not pan out in Golden State, but he showed flashes at Detroit since getting traded. The 22-year-old center averaged 12.7 points and 8.1 rebounds while shooting 53% from the field, logging 12 double-doubles in 24 games with the Pistons.

Meanwhile, Villanova swingman Cam Whitmore (ESPN) and Houston’s power forward Jarace Walker (The Ringer) are the top prospects who are mocked at No. 5 in this year’s draft.

Josh Hart Is Recruiting Donte DiVincenzo to Knicks

Another option for the Knicks to address their shooting woes without costing them RJ Barrett is Golden State WarriorsDonte DiVincenzo.

Josh Hart, DiVincenzo’s former teammate at Villanova, has been actively recruiting him to come join him and another former Wildcat, Jalen Brunson, in New York.

“Those [Villanova] guys in the league, I’m trying to get them to NY,” Hart told Bleacher Report’s Taylor Rooks in a one-on-one interview posted on June 5. “[Donte], that’s my guy. I was talking to him the other day.”

DiVincezno averaged 9.4 points per game on a career-high 39.7% from downtown on top of 4.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.3 steals as a spark plug off the Warriors’ bench this season. He has a $4.7 million player option which he will likely decline to get a richer long-term deal as an unrestricted free agent.

Knicks Left Out in Damian Lillard Sweepstakes

The Knicks drastically dropped from the betting favorite to outside the top three in the Damian Lillard’s sweepstakes after the Portland Trail Blazers star named the Miami Heat and Brooklyn Nets as his preferred destinations should he get traded in an interview with Showtime’s The Last Stand.

The Trail Blazers have  +225 with a 30.8% chance of having Lillard back for his 12th season, but the Heat and the Nets have moved up tied for second at +500 with a 16.7% implied probability of trading for the superstar guard in the offseason. The Knicks fell from +450 with 18.2% chance last month to land Lillard to +600 with just 14.3% chance in the latest odds.



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