New York Knicks security guard RJ Barrett is putting the finishing touches on a four-year rookie extension that could be worth up to $120 million, his agent Bill Duffy of BDA Sports and WME Sports told ESPN on Monday, signaling the off-season trade push of the United States. Utah Jazz All-Star franchise complicates Donovan Mitchell.
Barrett’s deal — making him the youngest $100 million player in Knicks history at age 22 — ends several weeks of trade talks for Mitchell between New York and Utah, forcing the two organizations, if they wish, to to start talking again with significantly different considerations because of the “poison pill” provision now in Barrett’s deal.
New York President of Basketball Operations Leon Rose set a Monday night deadline with Utah to agree a trade for Mitchell or the Knicks would commit to the Barrett extension, sources said.
As the Jazz-Knicks trade talks intensified and the gap related to deal points, including Barrett in the package, narrowed over the weekend and through Monday, a gap remained over reaching a trade for Mitchell, sources said. With the Knicks and Jazz discussions exhausted Monday night, Rose and Duffy finalized the extension eligibility for 2019 NBA draft class players.
Barrett’s deal ends a remarkable 23-year drought for the Knicks: According to ESPN Stats & Information research, he is the franchise’s first draft pick to agree to a multi-year contract extension following his rookie deal since Charlie Ward in 1999.
Barrett averaged 20 points, 5.8 rebounds and three assists for the Knicks last season. He was the #3 overall pick in Duke’s 2019 draft, behind New Orleans’ Zion Williamson and Memphis’ Ja Morant.
Barrett is one of only five players in NBA history to rack up 3,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 200 3-pointers before his 22nd birthday, along with Kobe Bryant, Luka Doncic, Kevin Durant and LeBron James.
The Knicks did include Barrett in trade proposals for Mitchell, sources said, so the process to complete the extension took several more weeks. Barrett was a staple of several trade variations discussed, but hurdles remained Monday over the total of unprotected first-round picks in the deal and the inclusion of Knicks security guard Quentin Grimes, sources said.
Nevertheless, the Jazz greatly valued Barrett as part of a Mitchell deal with New York, and a deal without him would require the Knicks to surrender far more concept assets than they were willing to do, sources said.
Once the Knicks committed to Barrett’s extension, management resigned themselves to the fact that there is a much more difficult path to an off-season deal to take over Mitchell. Nevertheless, neither Utah nor New York rule out restarting talks before the start of training camps in late September, sources said.
The parties have been discussing an exchange since early July. Of the 179 players in NBA history who have been given the Pill, only one—Devin Harris in 2008—was moved.
For trading purposes, the poison pill is calculated using a formula that would bring the Knicks’ outgoing salary for a Barrett transaction to $10.9 million, but requires the incoming salary for a team that takes over to be $26.2 million. The restriction will be lifted on July 1.
In order for Barrett to enter a trade to the Jazz, the Knicks would have to find a third team with room for a salary cap to reverse Evan Fournier’s $37 million contract.
The Jazz are not serious about a Mitchell deal at the moment, sources said, raising the possibility that he is still on the roster for the start of training camp.
The Jazz are determined to start a rebuild after swapping All-Star center Rudy Gobert for the Minnesota Timberwolves for five first-round picks in July. Mitchell, 25, is a three-time All-Star and taller New York native who would go on to become the franchise’s best player right away.
ESPN Front-Office Insider Bobby Marks contributed to this report.