Knicks finalize contract extension with RJ Barrett amid Donovan Mitchell speculation
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Madison Square Garden, home of the Knicks.
The Knicks are finalizing a rookie contract extension with RJ Barrett to keep the former first-round pick in Manhattan for four years. The new deal could be worth up to $120 million, according to ESPN and The Athletic.
The Associated Press has also confirmed that an extension is being finalized for the 22-year-old. The deal would make him the youngest player in Knicks franchise history to earn $100 million.
However, the deal throws a wrench in the Knicks’ ongoing trade talks with the Utah Jazz over Donovan Mitchell. Barrett had been a key part of any trade between the two organizations as Mitchell and Knicks president of basketball operations Leon Rose reportedly set a Monday deadline to accept a deal for Mitchell or extend Barrett.
The “poison pill provision” in Barrett’s deal will make any trade for the jazz superstar involving Barrett difficult and essentially take him out of the running to be part of any trade. The Knicks and Jazz haven’t ruled out the possibility of resuming trade talks closer to training camp in late September, ESPN reported.
Both sides had made progress closing the gap for a trade, but by Monday night they had remained too far apart to complete a move for Mitchell. New York and Utah had been engaged in trade talks since early July, according to the report.
Barrett’s extension comes after he has improved significantly since his rookie season and the extension only shows the growth New York expects him to experience in the future. He became one of five players in NBA history to record 3,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 200 three-pointers before his 22nd birthday.
Last season, Barrett averaged 20.0 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 70 games for the Knicks.
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Barrett became eligible for a contract extension on July 1 and would have become a restricted free agent had a deal not been reached by day one of the upcoming season. The young Knicks star expressed his desire to stay in New York earlier this year.
“That’s where I want to be. I love playing for the Knicks. I love playing in the backyard,” he said in April.