2. Zion Williamson
Ironically, during the 2019 draft, when the Knicks selected Barrett third overall, everyone and their mother knew the front office’s most desired prospect was his Duke teammate, Zion Williamson.
Despite boasting by far the worst record in the league during the season heading into the festivities, New York failed to land the number one pick where the tantalizing big was ultimately selected by the New Orleans Pelicans.
Fast forward four years later, and we see rumors have begun to surface suggesting Williamson’s time in the Big Easy could be on the verge of ending, with Bleacher Report’s Chris Haynes noting back in early July that the power forward could be had for the “right package.”
Naturally, this sent the faithful followers of the Knicks franchise into a frenzy, with fans constructing packages they believed could be enough to finally send the now 23-year-old to the Big Apple, and, often, a name seen linked as a trade sweetener was Barrett.
Now, without question, Williamson is indeed the far superior talent of the two and clearly possesses the higher upside when found on the floor — he’s already a two-time All-Star with career averages of 25.8 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game.
That said, there are still two serious problems with the idea of trading Barrett away in such an exchange.
The first is the fact that Williamson has struggled with injuries throughout his tenure in the association, as he’s played in just 114 out of a potential total of 308 regular season games. Say what you will about Barrett, but he’s played in 70 or more games in all but one season throughout his career with the Knicks, and, in 2020-21, suited up for every single contest.
The second, and perhaps most important, is the fact that trading one of Williamson’s known best friends for his services would simply be a horrible way for his tenure to be kicked off, as the exchange alone would almost certainly have the big arrive to New York with a bitter taste already planted in his mouth.