Knicks' Hypothetical Trade Packages for Donovan Mitchell After RJ Barrett Contract

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVAugust 30, 2022

Donovan Mitchell (Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

The road to a potential blockbuster trade sending Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell to the New York Knicks features even more hurdles after RJ Barrett signed a four-year contract extension worth up to $120 million with the Knicks.

Barrett has been a major piece of the trade talks between the teams, but the new deal includes a poison-pill provision between now and July 1, which complicates matters if the sides want to reach an agreement before the 2022-23 season.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported the Knicks and Jazz would have to "start over talks with significantly different considerations," and Woj noted there are basically two options.

  • Option 1: Barrett still sent to Utah but a third team involved to take the remainder of Evan Fournier's four-year, $73 million contract

There are two teams with the cap space to take on Fournier without any further financial complications: the Indiana Pacers and San Antonio Spurs. It's unclear whether either of those sides would be interested in taking on the Knicks guard in exchange for some draft capital.

Of course, the biggest problem with this option is that most of the parameters would be the same, but now some of the picks would be rerouted to a team with more cap flexibility when New York and Utah could have agreed to a deal before the Barrett extension.

That's unlikely to appeal to the Jazz because there was already a disagreement about the number of unprotected first-rounders they'd receive in the previous proposals, per Woj.

  • Option 2: Knicks include "far more draft assets" to offset Barrett not being involved

The Knicks have eight first-round picks available for trade, but so far they've remained hesitant to severely deplete those assets in exchange for Mitchell.

Not having Barrett's salary involved in the trade also creates a situation in which New York would probably have to include forward Julius Randle in order to make the salaries work, and bringing in Randle doesn't make a ton of sense for a Utah squad that would be rebuilding.

So, in both scenarios, it's easy to see why the idea of Mitchell heading to the Knicks has taken a serious hit following the Barrett extension.

Here's a look at what the deals may look like from the two possible routes:

  • Option 1: Mitchell to NYK; Fournier and a first-round pick to SAS; Barrett, Obi Toppin, Quentin Grimes, four first-round picks/pick swaps to UTA
  • Option 2: Mitchell to NYK; Randle, Toppin, Grimes and six first-round picks/pick swaps to UTA

Grimes' inclusion would likely be important from the Jazz's perspective in either case, and it's unknown whether the Knicks are willing to part with the promising 22-year-old guard.

Ultimately, the path to Mitchell landing in New York featured far fewer roadblocks before the Barrett extension, so the fact the sides couldn't come to an agreement says a lot. It will be difficult to navigate the additional hurdles his new deal brings to the equation.

It's possible the three-time All-Star spends another campaign in Utah, and perhaps the teams revisit trade options next summer when Barrett's contract loses the poison-pill provision.


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