Knicks Finalize RJ Barrett Contract Extension; Donovan Mitchell Trade Off?

The Knicks and small forward RJ Barrett are finalizing a four-year contract extension that could approach $120 million, agent Bill Duffy told Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.RJ Barrett Isaiah Thomas

Barrett, 22, is 6-foot-9 and averaged a career-high 20.0 points last season, as well as 5.8 points and 3.0 rebounds in 70 games. He is just a 41 percent career shooter in his three seasons.

As Wojnarowski reported, the deal could put a significant dent in the Knicks’ attempts to trade for Jazz star Donovan Mitchell, but that was seemingly by design. Knicks president Leon Rose gave Jazz CEO Danny Ainge a Monday deadline to agree to a deal, or the Knicks would extend Barrett’s contract, Wojnarowski wrote.

Utah has coveted Barrett in Mitchell talks, and without him, New York likely would have to surrender more picks than its shown a willingness to do, per Wojnarowski.

None of this is to say the Knicks and Jazz are done talking trade — but it very well could complicate things to the point where a deal isn’t reached until after the season starts. Or perhaps the Jazz will turn their attention toother suitors — which supposedly include the Hornets and Wizards, and perhaps again the Cavaliers, as we have relayed.

“Once the Knicks committed to Barrett’s extension, management became resigned to the fact that there’s a much more difficult path to an offseason deal to acquire Mitchell,” Wojnarowski wrote. “Nevertheless, neither Utah nor New York is ruling out restarting the talks before the start of training camps in late September, sources said.”

Mitchell, 25, is 6-foot-1 and has spent his entire career with the Jazz. He averaged 25.9 points, 5.2 assists and 4.3 rebounds in 67 games last season. While the Jazz are open to keeping him, it is seems a trade for a boatload of assets — and particularly unprotected picks — is their preference.

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