Although we’re entering the slowest part of the offseason with Summer League in the rearview mirror, things are only heating up more for the New York Knicks. With the possibility of a Donovan Mitchell trade happening during the offseason, the Knicks have been engaged in trade talks with the Utah Jazz.
Just like with Rudy Gobert, Danny Ainge’s asking price is high for the three-time All-Star. It’s a trade that isn’t expected to happen super soon, but many believe that the New York native will end up on the Knicks.
There’s been a lot of talk about who New York would include in a deal for Mitchell in addition to a few first-round picks. The lone player that shouldn’t be included in a deal is RJ Barrett. He’s coming off his first season of averaging 20 points per game, which is a goal that he set for himself.
According to SNY’s Ian Begley, the Knicks don’t want to include Barrett in a deal, but there’s also a reason why the Jazz shouldn’t be interested in getting the 2019 lottery pick in a trade.
Knicks’ RJ Barrett being due for an extension could keep Jazz away
Utah’s looking to acquire as many picks as possible, along with younger players. Barrett was eligible to sign a rookie extension on July 1, and if he doesn’t sign one before the start of the 2022-23 season, he’ll become a restricted free agent next summer.
If the Jazz took Barrett on, that’d mean that they’d have to either pay him a large sum of money or get rid of him in the coming months to avoid doing so, which isn’t the direction that Utah wants to head in under a rebuild. That’s why players such as Quentin Grimes, Immanuel Quickley, and Obi Toppin are of interest to the Jazz.
Trading for Barrett wouldn’t make much sense for Utah during its rebuilding phase. With three years in the league under his belt, he has the potential to be an All-Star in the next couple of seasons, so he wouldn’t fit the Jazz’s mold.
Not to mention, if New York were to trade for Mitchell, it’d be to Barrett’s benefit. The addition of Mitchell would help to continue elevate Barrett’s game. That duo would make Madison Square Garden electric.
With trade talks seeming to be at a bit of a standstill with Utah’s high asking price and the Knicks’ reported unwillingness to meet Ainge’s demands, fans will have to wait and see how everything plays out.
But when the time comes (if it does) and you get the Donovan Mitchell to New York trade notification, don’t expect to see Barrett’s name as part of the deal. He’s a key part of the future.