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The Knicks reportedly preferred to wait for RJ Barrett's extension, but perhaps until free agency is restricted.

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A month after looking like the frontrunners to acquire Donovan Mitchell, the New York Knicks beat the Cleveland Cavaliers. And 2022 No. 14 overall pick Ochai Agbazi traded Mitchell to the Utah Jazz.

Three days ago, the Knicks signed RJ Barrett to a four-year, $120 million extension to Utah as part of the Mitchell package, announced in this glowing statement.

“We are very pleased to announce the extension of RJ Barrett, who is a core part of the foundation of our team,” said Knicks president Leon Rose. He has cemented himself as a force on both ends of the court and I believe he will continue to improve because of his passion for the game and dedication to his craft.RJ with these values ​​and qualities We will continue to build our team and culture around players like us.”

The New York Post’s Steve Berman paints a different picture that reflects not the team “thrilled” to commit to Barrett long-term, but the team nearly coerced into doing so.Berman Than:

“The Knicks would have preferred not to sign Barrett to a hefty contract extension at this point, NBA sources say. , when he hit restricted free agency.

“They don’t want to pay RJ right now. They like RJ, but he’s not one of them,” an NBA source said. “We prioritized trading him in a deal with Donovan….If they got Donovan without Barrett, they weren’t going to pay RJ now.”

Once wind of the Knicks had the Cavaliers leading Mitchell, they moved toward an agreement with Barrett, according to the source.

“They had to do something,” said the source.

Let’s make one thing clear here. This is the “NBA” source. It can be anyone. A low-level scout for the Pacers as far as we know. It is not listed as a source close to the team, Rose, or any other person who appears to be directly related to New York decision makers.

That said, it also doesn’t make sense that you don’t know what this source is talking about. here is report. be what you want. What we do know, or at least more specifically reported, is that the Knicks were poised to trade Barrett for Mitchell.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski Barrett reported that he was part of a New York offer In July for Mitchell. There were reports that New York no longer wanted to add Quentin Grimes or more unguarded picks to their offer for Mitchell, but Barrett will almost certainly be a central part of the upcoming package.

Also, the extension New York has given Barrett isn’t the greatest. That’s definitely a lot of money, but you’re not unless you’re actively trying to trade him, let alone extend the #3 pick with the biggest deal. that Excited about what you saw from the guy. For Barrett, $120 million feels reasonable. he can be an all star. But he still is.

It’s an unbelievably frankly logical stance that New York wanted to wait to see how Barrett’s season played out before signing a long-term deal. The flip side, of course, is that they could have gotten him for cheap if he became an All-Star this season. Only one other team that would be forced to pay a dollar more and offer a higher offer could have kept him.

With all the details cut out, this feels like a bit of a consolation prize for New York. Hey, I didn’t catch Mitchell.Let’s at least lock our man up and make it look like we did something on our own termsFor me, whether that’s what New York wanted or not, the future flexibility of keeping Barrett and tradeable eight draft picks is a better outcome than trading farms for Mitchell. .