The New York Knicks' decision to sign RJ Barrett to a four-year extension worth up to $120 million reportedly created tension between the team and the Utah Jazz, who were engaged in trade talks regarding shooting guard Donovan Mitchell at the time.
"A wrecking ball hit when the Knicks and Jazz wouldn't come to terms, Windhorst said.
"I don't know who said no. I don't know if it was the Knicks who said no, or the Jazz who said no. The Knicks went ahead and signed RJ Barrett to a contract extension on Monday."
"That created an incredible amount of animus between the two organizations. I definitely felt it in talking to people over the last 24 hours. I will tell you that even though I felt that there was some scar tissue there, I was saying 'It is only August 31st, September 1st. That doesn't mean they're not going to do a deal.'"
The Knicks had reportedly included Barrett, a 22-year-old entering his fourth NBA season after dropping 20.0 points per game last year, in a proposal to the Jazz in July for Mitchell, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn
At the start of trade talks in July, New York offered Utah a Donovan Mitchell package including RJ Barrett, Obi Toppin, Mitchell Robinson and three unprotected first-round picks, sources tell ESPN. Jazz turned down that offer and Robinson signed a $60M extension to stay w/ NY. <a href="https://t.co/3eDg2Mf7f1">https://t.co/3eDg2Mf7f1</a>
That deal never came to fruition, but trade rumors connecting the Knicks, Jazz and Mitchell remained prevalent over the past two months.
Like Windhorst, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski also noted how the Barrett extension created issues.
"While in trade talks with Utah, New York president Leon Rose was running a parallel negotiation with Barrett's agent, Bill Duffy, on a rookie contract extension and set Monday night as a deadline with the Jazz to get a deal—or pause talks to finalize a new deal with Barrett, sources said. Barrett's deal—four years and worth up to $120 million, Duffy told ESPN—added a 'poison pill' provision to his contract until next July and would've forced the Knicks and Jazz to restart talks with new deal parameters based on the extension."
The Jazz then turned their attention to the Cavs this week, per Wojnarowski, and never engaged in talks with the Knicks. That sentiment was also reported by Tony Jones of The Athletic.
Trading Mitchell signals the beginning of a complete rebuilding period in Utah, which is reportedly looking to deal veterans Jordan Clarkson, Bojan Bogdanovic and Mike Conley Jr. as well, per Jones.
Utah already dealt All-Star center Rudy Gobert, and the total trade return on both players is as follows:
Legion Hoops @LegionHoops
So let me get this straight… the Jazz turned Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell into:<br><br>Collin Sexton<br>Malik Beasley<br>Leandro Bolmaro<br>Ochai Agbaji (14th pick<br>Walker Kessler (22nd pick)<br>Jarred Vanderbilt<br>Lauri Markkanen<br>THT<br>Stanley Johnson<br>7 1st-round picks<br>3 1st-round swaps<br><br>Insane.
The Knicks didn't land Mitchell, but they still have all of their future first-round picks and a host of exciting young talents including Barrett, Obi Toppin, Immanuel Quickley and Quentin Grimes. New York isn't about to contend for a championship, but it should squarely be in the play-in tournament conversation in 2022-23 with a promising future on the horizon.