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Report: Knicks G/F RJ Barrett finalizing big-money extension

Sportsnaut
Apr 6, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks shooting guard RJ Barrett (9) dribbles the ball against Brooklyn Nets small forward Bruce Brown (1) during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

New York Knicks guard/forward RJ Barrett is nearing an agreement to a four-year rookie contract extension that has the potential to be worth up to $120 million, ESPN and The Athletic reported on Monday.

The extension, with a reported base value of $107 million, is heavily reliant on a potential trade with the Utah Jazz that would send guard Donovan Mitchell to New York. Knicks president of basketball operations Leon Rose wanted any deal for Mitchell to be done by Monday night, and if it wasn’t, New York would opt to extend Barrett, per ESPN’s report.

Barrett, 22, would become the youngest player in franchise history to make $100 million if he does agree to the extension, according to ESPN.

The Jazz and Knicks have been in trade talks since the beginning of last month, and Barrett was reportedly mentioned in possible trade packages. With Barrett’s extension in place, a trade between the teams that includes him isn’t impossible but now becomes much harder due to a financial hurdle known as “the poison pill.”

New York’s outgoing salary on a trade would be at $10.9 million, but the team it traded him to would need an incoming salary of $26.2 million. Out of 179 players in NBA history with this “poison pill” element, Devin Harris was the only one that was traded, ESPN reported.

Barrett is entering his fourth season with the Knicks after being selected with the third overall pick in the 2019 draft. He averaged 20 points, 5.8 rebounds and three assists last season across 70 games, all of which were starts.

In 198 career games (197 starts), Barrett is averaging 17.5 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.9 assists while shooting 41.8 percent from the field. He recorded 3,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 200 3-pointers prior to turning 22, making him just one five players in league history to accomplish that feat.

–Field Level Media