It’s been a month and a half since the Utah Jazz officially made it known that they were open to discussing a Donovan Mitchell trade. The New York Knicks engaged in conversations with the Jazz then but the talks soon stalled. Now, the two sides are back in trade talks. Knicks fans may be torn on if a trade should/shouldn’t happen, but everyone seems to agree on one thing, which is that RJ Barrett shouldn’t be included in a deal.
There have been differing reports coming out recently, with New York Post’s Marc Berman reporting that Danny Ainge “doesn’t have many strong preferences on the players coming back” and that Quentin Grimes is still “high on his list.”
SNY’s Ian Begley reported on Tuesday evening that “the Jazz continue to have a strong interest in Knicks wing RJ Barrett.” Begley didn’t report that Utah is demanding that Barrett be included in a deal or else Mitchell will remain with the Jazz, but that the organization is still very much interested in the 22-year-old.
Outside of Barrett being due for a rookie extension, and Utah has reportedly discussed the possibility of paying him, the Jazz aren’t wrong to express interest in him. But this isn’t the same Knicks front office of the past, so don’t expect New York to willingly give up a key piece of the future to land Mitchell.
The Jazz may be interested in RJ Barrett, but the Knicks should be smart enough to not trade him
On July 12, Ian Begley reported that “People in touch with the club recently said New York has had no interest in trading RJ Barrett in any deal.” According to what he reported yesterday, that’s slightly changed, as “some decision-makers are open to including Barrett in a trade for Mitchell.”
As Begley noted, it isn’t surprising that there are some who are open to trading Barrett. However, that doesn’t mean that he’s going to be traded.
The Knicks have put together a solid offseason, including signing Jalen Brunson in free agency and parting ways with a few veterans. Leon Rose sat back and waited for the chance to sign Brunson and he’s stockpiled draft picks to include in a trade for an All-Star, which has yet to happen. That could soon change, though.
New York would be taking a step back if Barrett were to be included in a deal for Mitchell. And based on the report that the Knicks and Jazz are at odds over the amount of unprotected first-round picks (Utah wants four, New York is reportedly willing to include three), the front office can get by with not including Barrett.
Remember that just because the Jazz have interest in Barrett doesn’t mean that the Knicks are going to trade him. Utah also has an interest in Quentin Grimes, but New York reportedly isn’t willing to include him in a deal, either. With the Jazz entering a rebuilding phase, Danny Ainge’s main focus is the picks that he can get.
Based on what’s been reported, fans shouldn’t be concerned about Barrett leaving the Knicks. The main concern should be for the Donovan Mitchell saga to finally end with a trade to New York before the start of the 2022-23 season so that he can play alongside RJ Barrett.