The Toronto Raptors are visiting Madison Square Garden this weekend to take on the New York Knicks. This will mark the first game in New York for RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley as visitors.
In an interview with New York Post's Stefan Bondy, Barrett reflected on his nearly five years in New York. He recounted his favorite memories in the Garden, like Game 1 of the 2021 playoff series against the Hawks. Barrett showed nothing but love for Knicks fans, even without knowing how they will treat him once his name gets announced in the starting lineup on Saturday.
"I love the fans. I don’t know what they’re going to do. But I love the fans,” he said. “I appreciate them rooting for me. I appreciate them getting on me. Everything was all love in New York. I really from the bottom of my heart truly enjoyed being there."- RJ Barrett, via New York Post
How does Josh Hart feel about Barrett's return?
Josh Hart jokingly says he's going to boo RJ Barrett ahead of Knicks-Raptors showdown
Hart always pokes fun on social media. Ultimately, Hart and the entire Knicks team will be happy to see Barrett and Quickley.
Barrett was a fan favorite during his time as a Knick. Considering he was the highest draft pick since Patrick Ewing, fans saw the future of the Knicks in his hands. He embraced the city of New York right away, and the fans welcomed him right back.
Barrett played a significant role in getting the Knicks to the 2021 playoffs, which ended an eight-year playoff drought. He helped win a postseason series for the Knicks for the first time in an entire decade in 2023.
Nevertheless, the front office did not think that Barrett was a long-term priority as he continued to struggle offensively. However, in 10 games with the Raptors, he is averaging 20.2 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 3.2 assists, shooting 54.7% from the field and 39.5% from three.
As for Quickley, his statistics as a Knick don't do him justice. He was the heart of the bench for the team as a solid scorer who always brought a spark of energy.
Despite his performance off the bench, the front office and Quickley's camp couldn't agree on an extension, signaling the end of his time in New York. He now finds himself in the starting lineup for Toronto, and he's still bringing that same spark.
Hart joked that he would boo his old friend on Saturday, but in the end, both he and fans will be happy to see a couple of their former Knicks favorites back at MSG.