Tom Thibodeau’s reported Quentin Grimes/RJ Barrett belief shouldn’t matter to Knicks

The New York Knicks are back in trade conversations with the Utah Jazz regarding three-time All-Star Donovan Mitchell. New York’s latest reported offer wasn’t enough for Utah, meaning that the Knicks are going to have to be willing to include more in a deal or that the Jazz are going to have to come down on their asking price.

According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania (subscription required), the Knicks’ latest offer was made up of Obi Toppin, Evan Fournier, additional salary, and two unprotected first-round picks (five total). Charania reported during NBA Summer League that the Jazz were believed to have an interest in getting Quentin Grimes in a possible deal, but based on the latest report, that may be an issue.

The Athletic’s Tony Jones, who covers the Jazz, reported a couple of weeks ago that New York doesn’t “want Quentin Grimes in the deal under any circumstance.” And Tom Thibodeau has reportedly taken that belief to the next level.

Knicks’ Tom Thibodeau reportedly would prefer to give up RJ Barrett over Quentin Grimes

It isn’t hard to see why the Knicks want to hold onto Grimes. The 22-year-old is entering his second season in the league and wrapped up an impressive Summer League showing last month.

Since then, the talk has been about the wing being deserving of entering New York’s starting lineup in place of Evan Fournier. And given that the Knicks recently offered the Jazz a package that included Fournier and not Grimes, that seems to be the direction that New York wants to head in.

But here’s the thing — the Knicks shouldn’t be willing to lose RJ Barrett over Quentin Grimes. According to New York Post’s Marc Berman, “there’s a belief around the league Thibodeau would prefer to give up Barrett in a deal than shooting guard Quentin Grimes.”

Alright, let’s slow down. A season after Thibs won the 2020-21 NBA Coach of the Year award, the Knicks finished 37-45 and failed to make it to the play-in tournament. Now, New York was given a tough hand with the Derrick Rose injury and the issues surrounding Kemba Walker, but it was Thibodeau who opted to run Alec Burks at point guard. It was Thibodeau who showed reluctance to play the team’s younger players, two of who put on a show to end the regular season.

After the season ended, Barrett referred to Thibodeau as “my guy” on JJ Redick’s podcast. And fans also learned that Thibs holds a separate practice to focus on the development of the team’s younger players, although their on-court development was something that didn’t happen enough last season. Players have said positive things about Thibodeau, but the truth is that he could be entering his final season as the head coach of the Knicks.

There’s reason to believe that New York won’t have a year similar to last season, especially with the addition of Jalen Brunson, but if the team performs poorly again, Thibodeau could be let go. That’s something that fans wanted to see happen after last year’s disappointing finish, but Leon Rose spoke out in support of Thibs at the end of the season.

If Thibodeau truly would rather give up Barrett over Grimes, that doesn’t mean that the front office should act on that. He’s no Steve Kerr or Erik Spoelstra, two coaches that are deeply ingrained in their respective organizations. The truth is that Thibodeau could soon be on his way out, although that isn’t something that fans should be rooting for because it’d mean that the Knicks wouldn’t be performing as expected.

Yes, Grimes is as good as people say that he is, but no, he shouldn’t be valued above Barrett. End of story.