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 also confirmed that an extension was being finalized for the 22-year-old. The deal would make him the youngest player in Knicks franchise history to make $100 million.
However, the deal throws a wrench into the Knicks’ ongoing trade discussions with the Utah Jazz over Donovan Mitchell. Barrett had been a key piece of any trade between the two organizations for Mitchell and Knicks president of basketball operations Leon Rose had reportedly set a Monday deadline to either to agree to 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 tough to pull off and essentially takes him out of the running to be part of any trade. The Knicks and Jazz have not ruled out the possibility of restarting trade talks closer to training camp in late September, ESPN reported.
The two sides had made progress at closing the gap for a trade, but by Monday night had remained too far apart to complete any move for Mitchell. New York and Utah had been engaged in trade discussions since early July, according to the report.
Barrett’s extension comes after he has greatly improved since his rookie season and the extension only shows the growth that New York expects him to undergo moving forward. He became one of just 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 if there had been no deal completed before the first day of the upcoming season. The young Knicks star expressed his desire to remain in New York earlier this year.
“This is where I wanna be. I love playing for the Knicks. I love playing in the Garden,” he said in April.