It looks like RJ Barrett will be off the table in business talks with Donovan Mitchell.
It won’t be for the max, but ESPN reported late on Monday That Barrett and Knicks were finalizing a four-year, $120 million rookie contract extension, citing his agent Bill Duffy.
Max’s junior extension is five years, $185 million — a number related to the Knicks brass members. Although it was still a huge sum, it could have been worse with the speculation that Duffy was working everything out with his order. They’ll settle for $65 million less than rookie Max.
Knicks could have done it on July 1, but wait. The Washington Post reported that Knicks was open about putting Barrett in the Mitchell deal and Utah had no qualms about accepting it.
Now the calculus will change once Barrett signs. ESPN also reported that Barrett’s trade will end Mitchell’s talks for the time being, noting that Knicks President Leon Rose has set a Monday night deadline to complete the deal or they will sign Barrett.
This appears to be a lot of poker happening, though the report said they were getting close to a Mitchell deal.
“There’s nowhere for Donovan to go now,” a league source said. “The Knicks can still have it.”
The Post reports that Jazz is chasing four unprotected picks and Nicks are looking to give only two with three conditional picks.
Barrett’s lack of a deal doesn’t seem to spoil the deal. Sources claim unprotected picks are more important to Utah, which is said to be after the Lakers’ 2027 and 2029 picks in what could be a three-team deal.
The Lakers could also bump into Cam Reddish on a three-team deal since they followed him into the trade deadline. Reddish is part of Rich Paul’s agent group of players – which means LeBron James and Anthony Davis could be on board.
Barrett had a major season as his average scoring jumped to 20.2 points per game. His willingness to settle for less than a rookie Max and wait for free agency tied up in 2023 showed how badly he didn’t want to go to Salt Lake City.
Barrett’s impending signing means guard Quentin Grimes’ shooting could become a focal point in business talks.
Grimes, who had a nice New Year’s, is a favorite of Tom Thibodeau. In the event of a back-court stalemate if Mitchell is acquired, Grimes could feel he is best suited for a Utah if he has an eye on starting the business.
Last season, Barrett said his goal is to become an All-Star for the next two seasons. He stated that part of that will depend on whether the Knicks are a winning team. It is believed that incentives based on the Knicks wins will be part of the package.
On the surface, Barrett’s numbers were solid, but his 3-point shot fell from 40.1% in 2020-21 to 34.2% last season. Only 40.8 percent of the field has fired overall.
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